Dressed entirely in black from head to toe, with his face and head completely covered in black cloth, the gravedigger recounted the horrors he witnessed while working as one of the civilian workers at a mass grave site in Syria from 2011 to 2018. Syria in 2018, he said he spoke to other people who had most recently fled the country and said they told him that mass graves were still being dug. The gravedigger gave the prepared statement through an interpreter.
Before the war, the gravedigger worked as an “administrative employee in the municipality of Damascus,” but in 2011, “regime intelligence officers” came to his office and ordered him to work for them.
“When the regime asks for something, you don’t say no. I was not prepared for the horrors of my duties,” the gravedigger said through an interpreter.
“Every week, twice a week, three vans arrived with 300-600 bodies of victims of torture, shelling and massacre. Twice a week, three or four pickup trucks with 30-40 bodies of civilians shot in the Sednaya prison. also arrived at the burial in the most inhumane way,” the gravedigger said.
The gravedigger managed to escape Syria in 2018 and “follow his family to Europe.” He testified before a German court in Koblenz about the horrors he witnessed. Thanks to other people he worked with who recently fled, he says he knows that mass graves are still being dug today.
“My heart is heavy at the knowledge that so many are being subjected to inhuman torture at this very moment by the Assad regime,” the gravedigger said through an interpreter. “In some cases, I know exactly where they are dumped into mass graves, which are still being dug. I know this because others who have worked with me on mass graves have recently escaped and confirmed what we have heard.”
According to the gravedigger, the longer the war goes on and the longer Assad is in power, the more opportunities it gives to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Helping Assad empowers Putin, and stopping Assad harms the Russian dictator. We must finally learn from the past and prevent this from ever happening again,” he said.
The gravedigger spoke about the horrors of his time working on mass grave sites. In one case, a man who had been thrown out of a trailer truck along with other corpses made a movement signaling that he was still alive.
“One of the civilians said, cried, said that something had to be done,” the gravedigger said. “The scout overseeing us ordered the driver of the bulldozer to shoot him down, the driver could not hesitate, otherwise he would be next. He ran over a man in a trench, killing him. shed tears over the victim of the Assad regime, we never saw him again.”
The gravedigger urged senators to “take action.”
“While hundreds of thousands have already been killed and are missing, and millions have been displaced, the worst is yet to come. It can be prevented. But I ask you not to wait a second longer. I ask you to take action,” the gravedigger said.
CNN contacted the Syrian Foreign Ministry and received no response as of press time.