British television channel 4 on Monday was expected to air a story with fresh evidence that members of Syrian President Bashar Assad's family and inner circle are directly ordering the commission of crimes against humanity in Syria.
A Channel 4 investigation, "The Real Mr & Mrs Assad," reveals new evidence implicating top commanders, family members and henchmen of Assad.
The new evidence both damages the regime as a whole by painting many of its top figures as war criminals, while also making future prosecution of Assad himself on charges of crimes against humanity a more realistic prospect, according to legal experts.
Defectors from Syrian intelligence and security agencies, who previously were part of the regime's efforts to crush the 14-month-long revolt, told Channel 4 that the President's cousin issued "shoot-to-kill" orders against civilian protestors in Deraa in April last year. Snipers were reportedly given "Kill quotas," meaning they were expected to assassinate at least a minimum number of pro-democracy activists.
Notably, it is alleged that Assad's brother, Maher, a senior army commander, was part of a group of senior leaders at a secret command center in Deraa when the leadership ordered a crack down on a protest march by all means necessary. Over 100 civilians were killed. Maher is also accused of ordering indiscriminate collective-punishment of all of the men in the town of al-Moudamya, later in the same month.