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.

 

Concern and grief as Britain remembers 2005 terror bombings

Iran nuclear talks: Will Ministers score diplomatic success?

Deadly US raids target ISIS stronghold in Syria

After Tunisia beach massacre, tourists switch to other destinations

Near Gaza Strip, Israelis live in fear behind concrete walls

Tunisia declares state of emergency after beach massacre

Erdogan moots possibility of snap election

Coalitions of Syria rebels battle regime forces in Aleppo

Lawlessness in Libya poses real danger for Tunisia

Hezbollah backs Syria army in major assault on border city

Syria mosque explosion kills at least 25 Nusra fighters

Egypt President in Sinai after jihadist attacks on security forces

Yemen Huthi rebels ‘attack’ various areas in Saudi Arabia

No guarantee of success as Iran nuclear talks inch closer to lasting deal

Egypt ‘in state of war’ on second anniversary of Islamist ouster

Ansar al-Sharia denies killing of Abu Iyadh in US air strike

Rockets from Sinai strike Israel

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

Erdogan inaugurates public mosque in palace

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre

Youth in Tunisia 'ripe for radicalisation'

UN sends mission to 'assess' South Sudan atrocities

Syria urges citizens to enlist

AQAP step up campaign to eradicate qat

Iraq Christians train for jihad against IS

British FM: 'No breakthrough yet' in Iran nuclear talks

UN imposes first sanctions on six South Sudan generals

Libya rival governments will not return to peace talks

Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden

Egypt government adopts anti-terror law

Kurds warn Turkey against any ‘aggression’ in Syria

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after suicide bombing

Kuwait parliament approves deficit budget on oil slide

Pro-Erdogan candidate becomes new speaker of Turkey parliament