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Alexei Druzhinin, RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

The U.S. accused Syria Monday of killing thousands of prisoners and then burning their bodies in a crematorium outside of the capital, according to the AP. The top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, Stu Jones, says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has sunk to a new level of depravity" with support from Russia and Iran.

Why it's happening: According to the State Department, about 50 detainees are hanged each day at Saydnaya military prison, and their bodies are transported to the crematorium. The department provided photographic evidence to back its claims and alleges the cremation process is being used to cover up the executions.

The Syrian government is likely responsible: 13,000 people have been detained in the prison since Syria's civil war broke out 6 years ago, per an Amnesty International report. The report notes "It is inconceivable that these large-scale and systematic practices have not been authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government."

Go deeper

35 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

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