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Assad's oppression in numbers, 524416 arrest warrants

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Bashar al-Assad intelligence does not trigger much in non-Syrians; however, the phrase triggers many different responses in Syrians and that depends on their experience with the intelligence or on the stories they have heard about each intelligence branch and its crimes.

Syrians perspective of the different intelligence branches in Syria differs depending on accounts and witnesses which are still the guidebook in which the different branches are positioned regarding their barbarism and crimes.

Neither media reports nor extensive research were conducted to address deeply with official data the intelligence activity of Assad regime. This report conducted by Zaman al-Wasl reveals the activity of each intelligence apparatus and its position inside the Assad authoritarian system. The report’s data were researched in a huge archive of more than 1.7 million arrest warrants

According to the archive, intelligence apparatus in Syria are divided into 5 main apparatus: the General Intelligence Administration, Military Intelligence Branch, Air Force Intelligence Branch, Intelligence Branch, Political Security Branch.

Other apparatuses complete the authoritarian regime system like Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior and Military Judiciary. The phrase authoritarian system is more compressive than the intelligence system. The latter is limited to secret and public intelligence apparatuses whereas the authoritarian system includes unlimited number of apparatuses, civil directorates, military and semi-military institutions. The system also includes persons who are recruited by the regime to watch the population to prevent any possible movement or activity against the regime. The persons can be school principals, village chief, a Baathist or a religious sheikh Muslim or Christian. These all together are parts with small and big contributions which complement one another to sustain the repressive regime since it was engineered by Hafez al-Assad.

From the total number of 524 and 416 thousand arrest warrants, military intelligence issued more than 164 arrest warrants meaning nearly 31% of the total arrest warrants. Hence, the apparatus has absolute power in all fields and affairs inside and outside Syria. For instance, all arrest warrants issued to foreign journalists comes from military intelligence.

The second apparatus on the activity of intelligence is Intelligence Branch with more than 112 arrest warrants. It is very important to mention that both Military Intelligence Branch and Intelligence Branch are one apparatus with sub-divisions. The report separates the two as they are separated in the data in the Assad archive.

It should be noted that Intelligence Branch is the oldest and the main apparatus in the military intelligence. The apparatus developed from The Second Office. It appears by the serial numbers of the warrants of the Intelligence Branch nearly two million in 2014; the highest number of warrants in all intelligence apparatuses.

Theoretically, if we are to consider the Military Intelligence Apparatus and the Intelligence Apparatus one apparatus, then we have 276 thousand arrest warrant; meaning 53% more than half the total number of arrest warrants issued by the different repressive apparatuses. Thus, there is no doubt the military intelligence is the bogeyman of the Assad intelligence and its striking arm.

There is a huge gap between the military intelligence apparatus and the rest of the repressive apparatuses. The General Intelligence Administration has approximately 75 thousand arrest warrants followed by Political Security Branch with 71 thousand arrest warrant. What is surprising is the Air Force Intelligence, the least active of Assad apparatuses with 19 thousand arrest warrants.

It is important to mention that the numbers are the criterion to judge the activity and involvement of any repressive apparatus subordinate to Assad regime. The numbers might and might not conform to the instilled perception of Syrians about this intelligence branch or that.

The Air Force Intelligence Branch is not only the least active of the intelligence apparatuses, but also it lags behind another repressive apparatus; the Ministry of Interior with nearly 20 thousand arrest warrants. On the other hand, Ministry of Defense has approximately 2100 arrest warrants, 172 of them were capital punishments in the field court.

 The Ministry of Justice has only two arrest warrants whereas Presidency of the Council of Ministers issued 45 arrest warrants. Interestingly, an apparatus like the Military Police the one famous for its repressiveness has only 60 arrest warrants in the huge archive whereas Military Judiciary issued 1036 arrest warrants.
The general ranking

If we are to rank by the total number of warrants (arrest, travel ban, passport issue ban, enter ban), the Military Intelligence ranks first with 393 different arrest warrants. If we are to add the number of the warrants issued by Intelligence Branch 185 thousand arrest warrants, then we have a huge number of 578 thousand arrest warrants.

The General Intelligence Administration ranks second with 141 thousand different arrest warrants followed by Political Security with 129 thousand arrest warrants then Air Force Intelligence Administration with 33 thousand different arrest warrants.

Passports and Immigration Administration subordinate to Ministry of Interior has nearly 41 thousand arrest warrants; in contrast, Ministry of Interior has 45 thousand different arrest warrants and more than 24 thousand arrest warrants issued by the Ministry of Interior.

The total number of warrants issued by the Ministry of Justice is nearly 17 thousand warrants and it is half the number of the weakest of the intelligence branches and almost the third of warrants of Ministry of Defense and almost two thirds of warrants issued by Ministry of Interior.

(Writing by Ethar Abdul Haq; Translation by Rana Abdul)

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