(Zaman Al Wasl)- Ahmad Yusef al-Arsali is a Syrian refugee in Germany who claimed he had fled the war and Bashar al-Assad’s tyranny and suppression but Zaman al-Wasl sources confirm that he was an agent in the Air Force Intelligence, the notorious security branch that committed war crimes against the SYrian people since the uprising erupted in 2011.
Al-Arsali, who applied for asylum in Germany in 2015, has participated in the killings and looting acts in Syria, as he was also a part of the Air Force Intelligence and had connections with Hezbollah. In addition, he actively participated in the incursions, torture and killings of civilians in several rebellious Damascene neighborhoods at the time. He was immediately recognized by more than one survivor at the display of his image.
During the asylum interview held by the German authorities, Al-Arsali claimed that he was an unarmed civilian, although his social media pages were full of pictures presenting him in military uniforms, carrying weapons, driving four-wheel drive vehicles, which have long been considered a symbol of the shabiha in Syria.
Al-Arsali, who currently lives in the Grainau area in Leipzig, east of Germany, used to terrorize Syrians with violence and robbery. He took shelter in and was backed by Hezbollah in Leipzig. the party members, however, have been pursued by German authorities after Classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and banning its activities in a number of German cities since the end of April 2019.
Private pictures of the shabeeh Al-Arsali have been provided by one of his classmates in the German language course. In most of these photos, he appears wearing a military uniform carrying a weapon, which confirms his involvement in war crimes. There are also other pictures of him accompanied by other men wearing the same uniform.
Activists expressed their concern that Al-Arsali was sent to Germany for the purpose of spying on refugees and collecting information about the main figures of opposition who are active in Europe.
Lawyer Anwar al-Bunni had called on the Syrians who suffered torture to provide their testimonies to the German judiciary and insisted in an interview with the New Arab newspaper, on the possibility that the regime is, in fact, sending operative spies to Europe, and feeding them false information in order to mislead the German judiciary.
Last month, two suspected members of Bashar al-Assad’s security services had charges of torture and sexual assault read out against them in a German court, in what lawyers say is the first trial for war crimes by Syrian government agents, accordign to Reuters.
Colonel Anwar Raslan, a former intelligence officer who applied for asylum in Germany six years ago after leaving Syria, is charged with 58 murders in a Damascus prison where prosecutors say at least 4,000 opposition activists were tortured in 2011 and 2012.
The second suspect, Eyad A., 43, charged with facilitating the torture of at least 30 opposition activists arrested after an anti-Assad demonstration in 2011, covered his face with his grey jacket hood as he took his seat at the court. He arrived in Germany in April 2018.
Arabic interpreters repeated the charges to the suspects, identified by their first names only under German privacy laws.
Campaigners have hailed the process as a first step towards justice for thousands of Syrians who say they were tortured in government facilities, after attempts to establish an international tribunal for Syria failed.
Attempts by Western powers to set up an international tribunal for Syria have been blocked by Russia and China at the U.N. Security Council. Syria is also not a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Campaigners and survivors hope the trial will open the door for similar processes in other European countries such as Norway, which have similar universal jurisdiction laws and where former Syrian security service members are believed to live.
By Faris al-Rifai
Zaman Al Wasl