New evidence supports claims about Syrian state detention deaths

A leading rights group has released new evidence that up to 7,000 Syrians who died in state detention centres were tortured, mistreated, or executed and insisted that holding officials to account should be central to peace efforts.

Details of the deaths shed new light on the conditions endured by detainees in at least five government-run detention centres, which are thought to have held at least 117,000 people since anti-regime protests broke out in March 2011.

Human Rights Watch said some of the deaths have unambiguously been traced to five detention centres and two state hospitals around Damascus, which have been the focus of widespread claims of abuse and killing.