‘Before I defected, I had arrested many children’

March 11, 2013

After a wanted list of more than 96,000 Syrian citizens was leaked, Abbas Deiri spoke to a former officer in the notorious Syrian intelligence branch for some insight.

Q: How was this information leaked? How do they put together this kind of long list?

A: They usually depend on paid informers. Those usually work for a specific branch. Terror branch, for example, has its own informers. The heads of the branches usually have their exclusive informers.

Q: Are the paid informers civilians?

A: They are civilians and have civilian occupations like a taxi driver or real-estate broker. Most of them are real estate brokers. Add to that the local mayors who generally cooperate with the mukhabarat.

Q: Who is usually responsible for leaking this kind of information?

A: We are talking about central branches that have access to all lists in the country. We, the defectors, had worked with the Free Syrian Army before we defected. One of my colleagues was leaking information to the FSA on a regular basis. Ten days ago, he was detected by regime and killed. His name was Basel Adnan Arafat and he was a First Adjutant Officer.

Q: How can we verify this information?

A: I promise it’s real. There is additional information. Those who observe mukhabarat branches can recognize and categorize this kind of information. We can tell it came from an intelligence branch because these branches have access to the national population registry.

Q: Can you confirm that children under 18 were on that list?

A: Yes. Before I defected, I had arrested many children by orders from the head of the branch General Suhail Ramadan, an Alawite from Jableh. He ordered us to arrest children before adults. He served in one of the Mukhabarat branches in Suwayda province. He was rewarded by being assigned to Palestine Branch, or what we call it in al-Mukhabarat medium branch no. 235.

Moaz al-Khatib [the head of the opposition National Coalition for Opposition Forces and the Syrian Revolution] was detained in our branch. He was given a nickname to hide his identity because they usually receive inhumane treatment. [Ed.: Al-Khawaldi means they usually don’t list the detainees by their real names to hide that from their supporters who might leak the location of them.]