Thousands of photos that purportedly reveal the systematic torture of Syrian rebels are “fake,” the Syrian government said Wednesday, denying allegations that the regime killed thousands of detainees.
The report that published the photos photos is “politicized and lacking in objectivity and professionalism,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement on the state news agency, CNN reports. The government said acts of torture depicted in the photos were committed by “armed terrorist groups.” Some of the photos are of “foreign terrorists,” the government said, and others are of “civilians and military personnel who were killed as a result of torture by armed terrorist groups because they were accused of being pro-state.”
It is the first official response to a damning report authored by a team of international legal and forensic experts and funded by the government of Qatar, a Syria opponent. The report is based on nearly 27,000 photos provided by a Syrian government defector depicting corpses that show signs of starvation, brutal beatings, and strangulation.