A handout satellite image released on February 7, 2017 by Amnesty International shows the military-run Saydnaya prison, one of Syria's largest detention centres located 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of Damascus. (AFP/Xinhua)
DAMASCUS, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian Ministry of Justice denied a report released by Amnesty International about mass hangings of detainees in a military prison near capital Damascus.
In a statement carried by state news agency SANA earlier on Wednesday, the ministry said such a report aims to "tarnish Syria's reputation on the international arena, particularly after victories of the Syrian army in many areas recently."
A day earlier, the Amnesty released a report stating that the Syrian authorities in Saydnaya prison near Damascus carried out mass hangings of as many as 13,000 people.
The rights watchdog accused the government of a "policy of extermination," adding that its report is based on interviews with 84 witnesses, including guards, detainees, and judges.
The executions happened between 2011 and 2015, said the report, adding that most of those slain are civilians opposed to the Syrian government. They were taken out of their cells "in the middle of the night and in total secrecy."
"Throughout this process, they remain blindfolded. They do not know when or how they will die until the noose was placed around their necks," according to the report.
The report went viral and grabbed the headlines since Tuesday, pushing the Syrian Ministry of Justice to respond.
"The Justice Ministry completely denies and vehemently condemns the report, because it wasn't based on true evidences, but on personal emotions aiming to achieve known political goals," the ministry said in its statement.