First Published: 2012-11-20

 

War of spies begins in Syria: Rebels set up own intelligence service

 

Syrian rebels announce creation of security service to ‘defend Syrian revolution’ in country that has been awash with feared intelligence agencies.

 

Middle East Online

Who will be in control of rebels’ intelligence service?

BEIRUT - Syrian rebels announced on Tuesday the creation of a security service to "defend the Syrian revolution" in a country that has been awash with feared intelligence agencies for the past five decades.

Its objective is "to be a powerful security shield to protect the sons of the revolution from attacks, arrests and killings," and to hunt down members of the opposition who have committed abuses, according to a video statement by the rebels.

The video, posted to YouTube by Free Syrian Army spokesman Fahad al-Masri, shows eight armed men wearing masks over their faces.

One of the men introduces himself as Colonel Ossama, agent 102, and announces the "formation of the Intelligence Services Administration of the Syrian Revolution-National Security Bureau."

"It must be one of the powerful arms of the revolution against the intelligence network of the government clique and its regional and international allies," Ossama says.

He lists the names and code numbers -- 100 to 118 -- of the 19 department heads, including a woman, Umm Aisha, in charge of logistics.

Interior and exterior intelligence branches will be established, along with branches dealing with local and foreign media. Offices will be established in the major regions of the country, and a brigade for special missions will be formed.

The goal is to "strengthen the capacity of revolutionary political and military forces by providing detailed information on the movements of the Assad occupation forces, shabiha (pro-regime militia) and agents" of the authorities.

The Intelligence Services Administration intends to "remain separate from the revolutionary forces in order to hold accountable those who have committed errors, whatever their position," Ossama added.

The message did not make clear exactly who would be in control of the Intelligence Services Administration or whether the newly-formed political opposition bloc, the Syrian Coalition, would be involved in its formation.

The Baathist regime of President Bashar al-Assad and his father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad, has used a multitude of intelligence services over the past half-century to ensure complete domination of the population.

Informants are so rife in the country that Syrians joke that while other nations have developed intelligence services, in Syria it is the security services which have created the state.

The four main branches of the government's secret services, each with a local branch, are gathered under the auspices of the National Security Bureau.

The General Security Directorate, which functions outside ministerial supervision, is responsible for civilian activities inside and outside the country as well as for Palestinians.

The Political Security Directorate, under the Ministry of the Interior, is responsible for internal and external political dissent.

In addition, the Directorate of Military Intelligence, the most powerful branch, monitors internal and external affairs, while the dreaded Directorate of the Air Force is responsible for the most sensitive operations inside and outside the country.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli

Israel approves plans for 1,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem