The Israeli spy Eli Cohen was not the only agent who succeeded in penetrating Syria’s regime in 1960s. Repeatedly, Mossad operations were able to infiltrate high-profile branches of the regime including the ministry of defense and important military units and security systems, which were concealed by Bashar al-Assad in fear of scandal, sources confirmed.
The source, who requested to remain anonymous, worked for years in the Military Intelligence Division, Branch 211, detecting Israeli spying devices through systematic inspections of the offices of senior officers and military communication lines, as well as examining all combat equipment and electronic and electrical devices obtained by the armed forces and other security activities.
Infiltration of the Ministry of Defense
In 2001, during routine inspection of the office of the Minister of Defense, Mustafa Tlass, a signal was detected from inside his desk. The team had to cut into the desk to find inside the beech wood an extremely sophisticated recording and transmission device.
“After investigation, we discovered that the desk and the office’s furniture, which were shipped by sea, were a gift from one of the Minister’s friends who lived in Germany, despite the fact that all supplies of the commanding offices are usually purchased through Mission Control,” the source explained.
Tlass asked his friend to come to Syria, and after interrogating him, he denied any knowledge of the device. Under pressure from Tlass and in order to sweep the matter under the rug, he was cleared as a suspect and returned to Germany soon after.
After analyzing the device, they discovered that “it was German-made, but its data was transmitted via an Israeli satellite. It was technologically advanced, recording all audio in its surroundings, storing it in a temporary memory, then transmitting it through satellite at exactly 2 a.m. every 10 days.”
Dumayr and Al-Sin Military Airports
In 2004, while military patrols of Al-Dumayr airport were conducting a regular check of the main communication channels that connects Damascus to Dumayr and Al-Sin airports, one of the patrol personnel randomly opened a telecommunication inspection chamber to find strange devices inside it.
After Branch 2011 was notified, experts arrived with detection devices to discover that it was a listening and recording device that was linked to the main cable connecting Dumayr and Al-Sin airports. It was estimated that the bug was planted around two and a half years prior.
In 1995, a shepherd discovered a spy device in the barren mountains of Jayrud, northeast of Damascus, after following a number of cables buried under ground that lead him to a concrete rock. The man informed the 3rd Division, which back then was led by Hikmat Idris al-Mashriqi, who came with the team from Branch 211 to the scene.
They discovered that it was a spying system that has been set up for at least five yeat, with high resolution camera directed at the Scud missiles bunker. The device, which was booby-trapped and distributed into three groups: camera, batteries, and transmitter, was then dismantled. The shepherd has been imprisoned ever since.
Brigade 155/ Command
In 2008, during a routine inspection, a spying device that was planted on the ceiling of the office of the commander of the 155th Brigade, in Al-Qutayfa was discovered. A specialized team from the branch was called to dismantle the device for fear of the presence of explosives inside it.
The device was connected through a cable stretched inside the concrete of the ceiling to a sound clip implanted 8cm in the cement directly above the chair of the brigade commander. According to the source, the device was planted during the construction of the building, which led to a major issue within the branch for not discovering it sooner during previous inspections. The reason was that the old scanner was not able to detect it, with the new detector that revealed the bug is new gifted to the regime by Japan.
The 1st Corps Command
In one of the planned inspections, a technical inspection team discovered a signal in one of the chimney columns inside the office of 1st Corps commander, now Defense Minister, Major General Ali Ayoub. The team dug into the column and found a recording and transmission device installed in the cement.
A sample of the concrete was sent to the laboratories of the University of Damascus in order to determine its age, while the device was sent to the Center for Scientific Studies and Research. The device, it was discovered, was planted three years prior, which meant that Israel has been listening in on 1st Corps secrets for as long, a major scandal for the Intelligence Division, and especially for Branch 211.
Investigations were expanded, with Major General Ali Ayoub being detained in his office and prevented from leaving it for about a month. A large number of Corps officers as well as military engineers who worked on the building were interrogated without any results.
Another tapping signal was detected in the headquarters of the 90th Brigade, near the office of the Brigade Commander. The listening device was found underground connected to the communication cable of the commander's office, near it a satellite transmitter placed at 5 cm within a rock. The device was planted two to three years before its discovery, when Brigadier General Wajih Abdullah was commander.
The latest spy device
In 2013, a fisherman found large electrical cable emerging from a rock on Alnaml island, Tartus, which prompted him to inform the branch of Tartus Intelligence, who discovered a sophisticated high-resolution camera and transmission system linked with satellite receivers distributed over several Bakelite blocks camouflaged to look like the other rocks on the island.
The system was fed by 6 large long-life batteries, with the camera facing the hill where the naval Yakhont missiles, which the regime had received from Russia a few years before the revolution, were stationed.
The system is one of the latest, most complex and largest Israeli systems that have been seized. Remarkably, the regime has broadcasted its discovery on national television several months after finding it, to expose the “global conspiracy” against it led by Israel.
The source concluded that these are not all the devices that have been discovered. For two decades, around 22 devices have been found in different places, however, since 2011, it is likely that the number of spying devices from Israel and other counties has doubled.
Zaman Al Wasl