World must prevent further slaughter in Syria: US lawmaker

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Photo exhibit featuring images of systematic torture in Assad regime prisons prompts call for action

WASHINGTON – It is time for the U.S. to enact a buffer zone in northern Syria to prevent further atrocities from transpiring, a leading lawmaker said Wednesday.

“It is far past time that the world act, and protect and stop the massacres that are going on that have displaced half the population of that country,” House Foreign Affair Chairman Ed Royce said Wednesday during the opening of an exhibition featuring 50 images of torture inside prisons run by the regime of Syria President Bashar Assad.   

“It is far past time for the United States to say there is going to be a safe zone across this area in northern Syria,” he added, stressing that if an end to the four-years conflict is to come, it must start with “some measure of protection” for Aleppo’s citizens.  

Republican Sen. John McCain, a forceful critic of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, said that he has a copy of the torture photos on his desk to remind him of the “horrific crimes” that have been committed and continue to be carried out by the Assad regime. 

McCain said that it is “shameful” for the U.S. that the Syrian government continues to torture and kill its citizens unabated.  

Caesar’s Photos: Inside Syria’s Secret Prisons in being hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in cooperation with the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

The images, smuggled out of Syria last January by a defected military police photographer codenamed “Caesar,” have been described by a team of former war crimes prosecutors as “clear evidence” of “systemic torture and killing of detained persons by agents of the Syrian government.”

Caesar leaked more than 55,000 pictures of 11,000 victims who were systematically tortured to death by the regime.

The photos include men, women, the elderly, children, and disabled victims of all sects and backgrounds.

As many as 210,000 people have died during the conflict, according to the UN.