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Syrian Defector Details War Atrocities to House Panel

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:45:38 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Lawmakers Thursday expressed horror at the alleged atrocities described by a Syrian defector, who apparently backed up his claim against Bashar al-Assad's government with photographs he took of corpses.

The Syrian known as "Caesar," who wore a disguise to protect his identity, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "What is going on in Syria is a genocidal massacre."

He said his images of thousands of dead men, women and children were the result of working as a military-police photographer. "Caesar" subsequently smuggled as many as 50,000 photos out of the country when he defected.

New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel said "Caesar"'s account of the campaign waged against civilians "are war crimes, plain and simple." Engel has long supported giving weapons and aid to moderate rebel groups, claiming the U.S. missed an opportunity to help depose Assad.

Other GOP lawmakers blamed the Obama administration for doing little to prevent wholesale massacres.

Meanwhile, Damascus has accused the defector of fabricating tales of government atrocities, claiming that the dead bodies in his photos were the result of crimes caused by "terrorists," the name Assad has given to all enemies of the government.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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