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New Syria intelligence appointments benefit Russia at expense of Iran

May 11, 2024 at 11:55 am

Flag of Syrian Arab Republic [Getty]

The Syrian regime’s security and intelligence services appointed a number of officers close to Russia in sensitive positions to be responsible for the Air Force Intelligence branches in Homs, Hama and the coastal region.

An anonymous source from the monitoring and follow-up units of the Syrian opposition told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “The regime forces appointed Colonel Duraid Awad, who is from the town of Al-Rabiah in the Hama countryside, as head of the Air Force Intelligence branch in the city of Hama, Brigadier General Radwan Saqqar, who comes from the town of Beit Yashout in the countryside of the Jableh region in the countryside of Latakia Governorate, as head of the Air Force Intelligence Branch in the city of Homs, and who previously held the position of head of the Air Force Intelligence branch in Hama.”

According to the source, the appointments also included Brigadier General Rami Munir Ismail, who is from Latakia and was appointed as the new head of the Air Force Intelligence branch in the coastal region. The source stressed: “The officers who were appointed to these sensitive positions have extensive criminal records against the Syrian people.”

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The source indicated that the three officers appointed on Thursday are close to Russia, noting that these appointments come within the framework of Russia’s control over the strongest intelligence branch in Syria, i.e. the Air Force Intelligence, as these officers are loyal to Russia. The source pointed out that Russia is currently trying to gain the Syrian security branches to its advantage through these new appointments, in addition to pulling the military teams from their Iranian influence. This is especially true since it recently pulled the special forces from the Syrian regime forces towards it after appointing Major General Suhail Al-Hassan as commander.

On 9 April, the Ministry of Defence in the Syrian regime’s government appointed Al-Hassan, one of the most prominent criminals in the Syrian regime’s forces, as commander of the army special forces. This was an attempt by Russia to withdraw those forces from Iranian influence and place them under Russian influence, like in the case of the 25th Special Tasks Division, which was led by Al-Hassan.

Al-Hassan was appointed Special Forces commander and honoured by the Russian forces three times in 2016, 2017 and 2018, succeeding Brigadier General Mudar Muhammad Haider, who is close to Iran. The Special Forces, along with the Republican Guard forces, are the backbone of the defence of the Syrian regime’s strongholds and its presence in Damascus.

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