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.

 

16 killed in Israeli shelling of UN school in Gaza

Islamists capture key Benghazi army base

US plans largest ever sale of lethal missiles to Iraq

Syria rebels advance towards Hama military airport

Qatar invests in Israeli soccer

Militants fire at Tunisia army helicopter

Italian fire-fighting planes to come to Libya rescue

Emirates airline to avoid flying over Iraq

Bloodshed in Gaza surges amid no truce

Major western powers call for Libya ceasefire

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan