Dressed in all black from head to toe and completely covered in a black cloth, the gravedigger was speaking about the atrocities he witnessed while working as one of the civilian laborers at a mass grave in Syria from 2011 to 2018. While the gravedigger left Syria In 2018, he said he had spoken with others who had recently fled the country, who said they had told him that mass graves were still being excavated. The grave digger gave a prepared statement through an interpreter.
Before the war, the grave digger worked as an “administrative employee in the Damascus municipality,” but in 2011 “regime intelligence officials” visited his office and ordered him to work for them.
“When the system asks for something, don’t say no. I wasn’t prepared for the horrors of my duties,” the gravedigger said through an interpreter.
“Every week, twice a week, three trailer trucks arrived carrying between 300 and 600 bodies of victims of torture, shelling and slaughter. Twice a week, three to four pickup trucks carrying 30 to 40 bodies of civilians executed in Sednaya prison were executed. They also got to get rid of it in the most brutal way.”
The grave digger managed to flee Syria in 2018 and “tracked his family to Europe”. Testified before a German court in Koblenz about the atrocities he witnessed. Because of the other people he’s worked with who have recently escaped, he said, he knows there are still mass graves being excavated today.
“My heart is heavy to know that so many at this very moment are being subjected to inhuman torture at the hands of the Assad regime,” the grave digger said through the translator. “In some cases, I know exactly where they were piled up in mass graves that are still being excavated today. I know this because others who worked with me on mass graves have recently escaped and confirmed what we’re hearing.”
The gravedigger said that the longer the war drags on and Assad remains in power, the more empowered Russian President Vladimir Putin will be.
“Empowering Assad enables Putin to stop Assad harming the Russian dictator. We must finally learn from the past and not let this moment happen again,” he said.
The gravedigger recounted the horrors he experienced while working on the mass grave sites. In one case, a man thrown from a truck with other corpses made a movement, indicating that he was still alive.
“One of the civilian workers said, and he started crying, and said we had to do something,” the gravedigger said. “The intelligence officer supervising us ordered the bulldozer driver to run over him, and the driver did not hesitate, otherwise he would have been next. He ran over the man in the trenches and killed him. As for the young man in our workshop who dared to shed tears for the victim of the Assad regime, we have not seen him again.”
The gravedigger called on senators to “take action.”
“Although hundreds of thousands have already been killed and disappeared and millions displaced, the worst is yet to come. It can be prevented. But I beg you not to wait a second. I beg you to take action,” said the gravedigger.
CNN has contacted the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has not received a response as of press time.
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