Almost 18,000 people have died in Syrian prisons over last five years - Amnesty

Amnesty report details what its described as 'inhumane torture' of detainees in prisons

Almost 18,000 people have died in Syrian prisons over last five years - Amnesty

Image: Ivan Sekretarev / AP/Press Association Images

The Syrian government is being accused by Amnesty International of crimes against humanity.

The human rights organisation has released a report this morning detailing what its described as the inhumane torture of detainees in prisons.

Statistics compiled by the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) indicate that 17,723 people have died in Syrian prisons since the conflict began five years ago - with an average of 300 deaths each month.

Amnesty says that "the figure is a conservative estimate and both HRDAG and Amnesty International believe that, with tens of thousands of people forcibly disappeared in detention facilities across Syria, the real figure is likely to be even higher."

The report also includes allegations of human rights abuses at 'every stage' of the detention process - from severe beatings when arriving at facilities to reports of prisoners being subjected to sexual assault by guards.

Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, says the world needs to take action.

"We're calling upon the international community - in particular Russia and the US, who are co-chairing peace talks - they have to make sure these kind of abuses are at the top of the agenda in discussions with authorities and armed groups... to press on them the need to end torture and other ill treatment."

“For decades, Syrian government forces have used torture as a means to crush their opponents," Mr O'Gorman added.

"Today, it is being carried out as part of a systematic and widespread attack directed against anyone suspected of opposing the government in the civilian population and amounts to crimes against humanity."