Damascus: Following Amnesty International report of massive hanging at a Syrian Jail Syria’s justice ministry on Wednesday rejected it calling the allegations “totally untrue” and part of a smear campaign.

The ministry’s statement, published by Syria’s state-run news agency, came a day after Amnesty released its report , based on a year of research and interviews with 31 former detainees of the Saydnaya prison near Damascus and over 50 former guards, prison officials, judges and experts.

Amnesty’s report included chilling details from witnesses who saw various stages of the killings, down to the actual implementation and last- minute wishes of the men hanged, most of whom were civilians.

In Damascus, the justice ministry said “misleading and inciting” media outlets carried the Amnesty report with the intention to smear the Syrian government’s reputation on the world stage - particularly after recent “military victories against terrorists groups.” The government refers to all armed opposition as “terrorists.”

It also called the allegations “baseless” and stated that executions in Syria follow due process and various stages of litigations. It also questioned testimonies of survivors who are currently outside of Syria. “Why didn’t the Syrian authorities execute them and why were they released if others were executed?” it said.

“The justice ministry denies and condemns in the strongest terms what was reported because it is not based on correct evidence but on personal emotions that aim to achieve well-known political goals,” the statement said.