Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the ill-treatment and torture of civilians has become state policy in Syria.
In a report released on July 3, the New York-based rights watchdog says torture has become a crime against humanity in Syria and should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.
HRW says it has identified 27 detention centers run by intelligence agencies in Syria.
Ole Solvang, a researcher at HRW, said the Syrian regime was "running an archipelago of torture centers scattered across the country."
The 81-page report says most former detainees interviewed said they were tortured or had witnessed the torture of others.
Torture methods included prolonged beatings with batons and cables, and detainees, including children, being held in painful stress positions for prolonged periods.
In other news, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been quoted as saying he wished Syrian forces had not shot down a Turkish jet last month.
With reporting by dpa