Did Syria’s Rebels Pass Israel Assad’s Secrets?

A Syrian newspaper claims Israel and the US have obtained the crown jewels of Damascus’ military intelligence secrets from the rebels

Syrian state news outlets claimed Tuesday rebels from the Free Syrian Army passed sensitive military secrets to Israel and the United States.

Syrian Rebels

Syrian Rebels - Reuters

“The insurgents in Syria and Israel and the U.S. gave military secrets,” a lengthy article in a Syrian newspaper said, citing a report of some 3,000 pages said to detail “some of Syria’s most sensitive military secrets.”

According to the report, the information mentioned in the report came from officers and soldiers who deserted the Syrian Army at the beginning of the popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime over 14 months ago.

The FSA consists of some 30,000 poorly organized and equipped army defectors who are headed by a small cadre of senior dissident officers who have taken refuge in Turkey. They constitute roughly half of the estimated number of Syrian army defectors to date.

According to the report, Jerusalem and Washington are now aware of all storage sites for biological and chemical weapons in Syria, as well as the names and locations of all Syrian defense research facilities.

The rebels are said to have also provided Israel and the US with the capabilities of all of Syria’s conventional and non-conventional warheads, as well as the exact location of where bombs and missiles capable of delivering biological or chemical payloads are stored.

Additionally, the information allegedly included the names, ranks, and detailed information on Syrian air force personnel responsible for the research sites, storage facilities, and delivery systems for unconventional weapons; and the names and addresses of scientists employed by Syria’s Defense Ministry.

The compromised information also reportedly details conventional arms acquired by Syria in recent years, especially after 2006. This information is said to include tank and aircraft specifications, as well as listing all modifications made to various weapon systems.

Lastly, it included changes made to the doctrine employed by Syrian army units due to observations of Israel’s conduct of the Second Lebanon War.

Some observers have expressed doubt about whether senior FSA officers really had access to so many key secrets, noting most nations compartmentalize sensitive information – with only a few trusted individuals having complete access.

However, it has been noted that over a dozen senior staff officers and brigade commanders – colonels and generals – have joined the FSA. The overall rebel commander is Riad al-Assad, a Syrian air force colonel and one of the first defectors.

His family members have been victims of execution by Assad’s forces.

The Syrian report claims Israel, concerned the information it received was “deliberately misleading, “is said to have carefully analyzed the data and concluded it was accurate. The claim could not be independently verified.

Israeli officials adhere to a long-established and iron-clad policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

 

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By Gabe Kahn

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