By Ethar Abdul Haq
(Zaman Al Wasl)-A leaked document issued by the top Syrian security body eight years ago showed how Bashar al-Assad’s regime had issued an amnesty for hundreds of terrorists and jihadists just a week after the beginning of the Syrian revolution in March 2011.
It still mysterious why one of the British parties that leaked the document has been delayed its publication until last week win Syrian resident.
The neglect of the document on the release of "terrorists" since the beginning of the revolution demonstrates that Syrians, especially the opposition, have reached a state of apathy, at a time when they are most needed to monitor and gather evidence.
Perhaps this dire state of indifference is the reason why the British intelligence had to leak this document at the present time, to prove through this test that Syrians have given up.
The document refers to an "emergency" meeting of the National Security Bureau chaired by Al-Assad on 19 March 2011, one day after the outbreak of the revolution in southern Daraa province.
The document, which bears the seal of the National Security Office and the signature of its President at the time, Major General Hisham Bakhtiar, directs the heads of the military, general intelligence, air force, and political intelligence services, as well as the director of the military justice department, inviting them to prepare lists of all Prisoners detained for their "affiliation with terrorist organizations".
The document identifies these organizations by name: "Al-Qaeda, Jund al-Sham, the base of jihad in Mesopotamia, the Tawhid and Jihad group, the Islamic Liberation Party, the Muslim Brotherhood..." Some of those stipulated in the National Security Office document are, incidentally, those who formed the nucleus of the most prolific organization of the Syrian revolution.
The National Security Bureau requests that the lists be prepared within a period not exceeding one month, justifying the haste as “to include their penalties in the presidential amnesty decree.” A pretext that is void in form and content, as the regime that has opened fire on the demonstrators of Daraa on March 18, cannot have ordered, in less than 24 hours, the preparation of an amnesty decree.
The most serious and important paragraph in the document—composed on March 22, 2011—is the order of release of all detainees in Assad’s prisons, who belonged to all types of "terrorist organizations" (and who were yet to go to trial), no later than March 26, giving only 4 days to all branches of intelligence to release them. A record period by all standards as it can take up to two or three days for the document to be delivered, in addition to the time required to register it, then circulate and implement it by intelligence branches in Hasakah or Latakia or Deir Ezzor. Indeed, the very short deadline also uncovers all the regime's lies about the long course of action that must be followed, according to law, before a detainee is released.
What appears to be an "emergency" behavior by the regime is to approve the release of thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of extremists 24 hours after the outbreak of the revolution. It is a systematic and deliberate policy that has been adhered to for decades, from receiving, sponsoring, fostering, and "breeding" militants in the regime's prisons, and then releasing groups or individuals when the need arises.
Each time, the Assad regime released a limited number appropriate to the size of its mission (for example, the assassination of Hariri and the release of Abu Adass). The number was always limited, keeping most of its “stocks” under its grip should the need arise. However, when the first sparks of the revolution erupted, the regime realized that it is an extraordinary event, “mobilizing” all its “assets”.
The Syrians touched many of the facts revealed in this document, but after paying a terrible price. The international community’s secret services had been aware of this, since the beginning, but preferred and even insisted that the Syrians pay the bill.
Eight years of war in Syria have killed 560,000 people and driven half the pre-war population of 22 million from their homes, including more than 6 million as refugees to neighbouring countries.
Zaman A Wasl