May 16 (UPI) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime denied the U.S. Department of State’s accusation that it built a crematorium to conceal mass prisoner executions.
Stuart Jones, the U.S. State Department’s assistant secretary for the Middle East, said Monday a crematorium at the Sednaya military prison in Damascus is destroying corpses at a rapid rate.
In a statement to state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said the accusation about the crematorium was “totally baseless” and a “new Hollywood story” that is “fundamentally untrue.”
“U.S. administrations continue fabricating lies and allegations to justify their aggressive and interventionist policies in other sovereign countries,” the ministry said in a statement. “These allegations are totally untrue and are only fabrications by the imagination of this administration and its agents.”
The U.S. government has long accused Assad’s regime of numerous of human rights abuses, including multiple chemical attacks — the most recent of which killed nearly 100 civilians and children in March, and drew a retaliatory missile strike from the United States.
The Syrian ministry also referred to the accusations of barrel bombs and chemical weapons in its statement, addressing them also as false.
The ministry also suggested that the U.S. government is using the allegations as an attempt to acquire leverage during political negotiations in Geneva and Astana aimed at ending the six-year Syrian civil war.