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Syrian Regime Infiltrating Opposition Ranks - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An image grab taken from YouTube shows Syrian anti-regime protesters tearing a billboard of President Bashar al-Assad after rebels overran the northern city of Raqqa on March 4, 2013.(AFP)

An image grab taken from YouTube shows Syrian anti-regime protesters tearing a billboard of President Bashar al-Assad after rebels overran the northern city of Raqqa on March 4, 2013.(AFP)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Syrian opposition activists have disclosed information confirming that the Syrian regime and its security organs are deploying loyal agents to “spy on the opposition’s activities and carry out the kidnapping and killing of opposition activists.” The activists claimed, “Elements of the Assad regime are infiltrating the towns and cities under the opposition’s control, particularly in Idlib and Aleppo. They are using forged identity cards with the places of birth changed to read Tall Rif’at, Al-Bab, or other areas known for their opposition to president Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”

A Syrian activist from Idlib governorate told Asharq al-Awsat that “elements from the regime’s security organs, carrying false identity cards, are crossing through Free Syrian Army (FSA) checkpoints and entering the liberated towns of Idlib to carry out operations against the rebels.” He pointed out that “several groups—uncovered by opposition battalions—intended to carry out bombings targeting civilians in many densely populated areas. This was a ploy to incite public opinion against the FSA in regions outside of the regime’s control, and to weaken its popular base.” He added, “The regime not only forges its agents’ identities; it also trains them to speak in the dialects of the liberated areas they enter.”

A video clip posted by opposition activists on YouTube shows an Assad army officer named Mahir Aziz—who was arrested in Al-Qusayr, Homs governorate, by an FSA battalion—confessing about his forged identity card. The birth place had been changed to Al-Salibah, a district in the city of Latakia that is known for its opposition to the Syrian regime, so as to facilitate his entry into the liberated areas.

Abu Al-Bara, the official spokesman for the Revolutionary Military Council in Aleppo, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Syrian regime is using an intelligence strategy against the rebels. One of its primary methods is to recruit elements to infiltrate areas under our control.” He added, “The regime’s security organs forge the identity cards of Shabiha members and security elements to enable them to infiltrate various areas. They then gather information and carry out operations against the opposition in a covert manner”. He revealed, “By chance, a group affiliated to the regime was discovered in Aleppo governorate after it had kidnapped and assassinated FSA elements, in addition to handing over some activists to the Syrian security apparatus.” According to Bara, “Air force intelligence is the main reason behind the recruitment of these groups, to spy on the opposition and plan operations against them.”

Bara went on to say, “It is very difficult to control the permeation of the regime’s agents. They claim they are from liberated areas and show identity cards to prove this, which are later discovered to be forged.” He added, “One opposition organ (the Syrian revolutionaries’ general intelligence service) is tasked with hunting down these agents and uncovering their plans.” Bara was referring to a service that was established last year to enhance the political and military capabilities of the Syrian revolutionary forces. According to its founding statement, the opposition intelligence apparatus aims to provide detailed information about the plans and movements of the regime’s forces and its Shabiha affiliates, in addition to creating a solid security shield to protect the Syrian revolutionaries from attacks, arrests, and assassination attempts.