Graphic photos show regime tortured victims
Digital images of Syrian conflict victims show evidence of starvation, torture and brutality, war crimes experts say
Prominent international war crimes experts say they have received a huge cache of photographs documenting the killing of 11,000 detainees by Syrian authorities.
David Crane, one of the three experts, said the cache provides strong evidence for charging president Bashar Assad and others for crimes against humanity - "but what happens next will be a political and diplomatic decision".
In the 55,000 digital images, smuggled out by an alleged defector from Syria's military police, the victims' bodies showed signs of torture, including ligature marks around the neck and marks of beatings, while others show extreme emaciation suggestive of starvation.
The report - commissioned by the Qatar government, one of the countries most deeply involved in the Syrian conflict and a major backer of the opposition - could not be independently confirmed.
"It's chilling; it's direct evidence to show systematic killing of civilians," said Mr Crane, former chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said the US had focused too strongly on bringing the warring parties into peace talks at the expense of putting "real pressure" on the Assad government to end atrocities and hold to account those responsible.
The group also accused Russia and China of shielding their ally Syria from concrete action at the UN.