Israeli military chiefs considered bombing crematoria used to burn the bodies of political prisoners in Syria because of Israelis’ collective memory of the Holocaust.

According to a senior military official quoted in the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, the Israeli air-force debated whether to hit Syrian state facilities at Saydnaya military prison, just outside the capital Damascus.

The prison was identified by the Pentagon in May as being used to burn the bodies of opponents of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, with satellite images appearing to confirm the U.S military reports.

The U.S State Department said that every day up to 50 Syrian rebels were being hanged and burned at Saydnaya, known as “the slaughterhouse”. Now, one anonymous Israeli participant involved in the discussions about an Israeli response has said the IDF considered an airstrike, but decided against it.

“A country that lost millions of its people to crematoria cannot stand by when it happens to another people a few dozens of kilometres from our border,” when most of the world “stands by and remains silent — exactly as it did 70 years ago,” they are reported as saying.

The reasons why Israel chose not to hit the crematoria are unknown, but it is widely believed that military chiefs chose not to act in order to avoid getting drawn into a full-blown conflict with Syria, with which it is still technically at war.