May 16, 2017



WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum welcomes the State Department’s release of previously classified imagery pointing to the suspected construction and use of a crematorium at one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’smost notorious and deadly torture facilities, Sednaya prison.

The Administration’s release of this imagery adds to the extensive information about the nature of the crimes Assad’s security forces have been committing against regime opponents and civilians in these secret facilities since the start of the conflict in 2011. Some of the earliest evidence of the Assad regime’s crimes have been on display at the Museum since 2015, including photographs of torture and death in these facilities which were smuggled out of the country by a former regime photographer code-named Caesar. These photographs constitute the most comprehensive evidence of the regime’s widespread and systematic targeting of Syrian civilians.

For six years the Assad regime has been committing crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Syrian people through tactics that include torture and murder, aerial bombardment, the use of chemical weapons, and the besieging of whole communities.

The State Department’s revelation that the regime is now taking extraordinary efforts to cover up its crimes, through the suspected use of crematoria, demonstrate why it is all the more important to redouble efforts to bring the conflict to an end and investigate, document, and hold accountable those who direct and carry out these widespread atrocities.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information visit,

Congressional leaders in both chambers are ready to roll out new sanctions on Syria, Al-Monitor has learned.

Written by Julian Pecquet, congressional correspondent for Al-Monitor

Differences in how to counter the Bashar al-Assad regime's Russian patron, however, may cause delays despite widespread bipartisan support for forcing the Trump administration to get tough on Damascus.

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said he is getting ready to reintroduce legislation that passed the House by voice vote in November. The bill was named after a dissident Syrian army photographer nicknamed "Caesar"; Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told Caesar in a Dec. 1 phone call that he would do his best to get the bill passed, according to a source who was briefed on the call.

Read full article here.


Michael Isakoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, releases a powerful video and story from first-hand experience with Syrian refugees inside Lebanon.

BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon — Families crammed into ramshackle tents. Children playing amid garbage. Their parents, bewildered and fearful — with no place to go.

That is life in Jdita, a settlement center for Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

“What you see now is how we live every day,” says Hana Khalaf, surrounded by a half-dozen young children, her nephews, nieces and cousins, huddled together on the tent floor. “Life is monotonous. The situation is difficult. Imagine, you never know when your tent will catch fire.”

Her country has been on fire for six years. There are 4.8 million refugees from Syria’s civil war. That’s more than five times the number of Palestinian refugees created by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. An estimated 1.6 million Syrians are in Lebanon, where most can’t get work permits due to onerous local regulations. Many of the children in Jdita have no school to attend.

So the families wait endlessly in their tents — for something to change.

But nothing does.

Read full story here.


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. hosted a public program, "Saving a Syrian Synagogue" on the evening of February 15, 2017 at 7PM EST.  SETF executive director, Mouaz Moustafa, translated for Rabbi Avraham Hamra, Chief Rabbi of Syria, and Aahed Sulayman, a Syrian man who sought to save the synanogue. Learn about the event here. and you may watch this event which was streamed live here.

The Syrian Emergency Task Force assisted in the efforts in Jobar to protect ancient Judaica and one of the oldest synagogues in the world. This work was covered by a Wall Street Journal article written by Adam Entous, who was also a speaker at the event. You can read his article here.

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will host a public program, "Fleeing Atrocities: Witness Perspectives" featuring speakers Alfred Munzer, Holocaust survivor, and Mouaz Moustafa, executive director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force. The public program will take place on February 22 at 7pm at The University of Miami Newman Alumni Center.

View article and get tickets here.



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