An Israeli minister has bluntly called for Syrian leader Bashar Assad to be assassinated after unsourced media reports claimed Damascus was using a “crematorium” to cover-up mass killings. He said the “serpent’s head” in Tehran should be dealt with next.
“The reality whereby Syria executes people, intentionally uses chemical weapons to hurt them and, now, in the most recent move of extremism, is burning their bodies – this has not been seen in the world in 70 years,” said Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant, as cited by Haaretz.
“We are crossing a red line and, in my view, the time has come to assassinate Assad,” he continued.
“And when we finish with the tail of the serpent, we will reach the head of the serpent, which can be found in Tehran, and we will deal with it, too,” he said.
What appears to be the first recorded Israeli threat to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Assad came after the US Department of State alleged, without presenting any hard evidence, that the Syrian government is using “a crematorium” outside Damascus to burn the bodies of people killed by the government.
Although, the United Nations can not verify Israel’s claims about the presence of a crematorium in Syria’s Sednaya prison, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday.
“We cannot independently verify the information about the presence of a crematorium in the Sednaya prison,” Dujarric said.
“We are extremely concerned that thousands of civilians continue to be held in government detention centers and have grounds to believe that they are systematically subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, including torture and sexual violence.”
On Monday, the US State Department released a new report regarding Syrian government’s treatment of civilians. The report claimed the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad treated unarmed civilians in the same manner as they treated opposition militants.
Acting Assistant Secretary for the US Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones said that the Syrian government had reportedly installed a crematorium in the Sednaya prison to mass dispose of detainees’ remains.
Damascus denied on Tuesday the US State Department’s accusations of the existence of a crematorium in the Sednaya prison near Damascus, adding that they were false, a source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
“The accusations that the Syrian government had created a so-called ‘crematorium in the Sednaya prison’ are not true, just like previous claims of ‘chemical weapons’ and ‘barrel bombs’ repeated by the US administration…
The Syrian government stresses that these accusations … are a figment of the imagination of this administration and its agents,” the source told the SANA news agency.
Earlier on Tuesday, Galant told Israeli Army Radio that Assad’s rule has been the worst since Nazi Germany. “What is happening in Syria is defined as genocide, under all its classifications,” he said on Army Radio, according to Jerusalem Post.
Galant, a retired IDF general, added that Israel wants to see Assad and his Alawite government ousted from power and replaced by a “moderate Sunni ruler.”
Some previous attempts to compare Assad’s government to the Nazi regime have been met with public outcry. White House spokesman Sean Spicer, who claimed that Hitler’s death squads hadn’t used chemical agents during the Holocaust “in the way that Assad used them” sparked outrage in the US and beyond.
Certain journalists have used the Assad-Hitler comparison when covering claims that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons, but those remarks were dismissed by the public.
Assad, a UK-educated doctor, has been in power since the 1999 passing of his father, Syria’s long-time president, Hafez Assad. Syria is one of the few Arab countries where the president is elected through a nationwide vote.