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Photos: In heavily fortified headquarters, Russia's favorite warlord in Syria dwells

Zaman Al Wasl obtained aerial photos of the permanent headquarters of the militias of Suhail Al Hassan, who is considered Russia’s most important man in Syria.

Since 2014, Assad’s and Russian media have presented Suhail Al Hassan as an officer with exceptional military prowess, however according to widespread information, Al Hassan was never on the front lines, giving orders from within his fortified and well protected headquarters. 

According to private sources, Russia provided protection for Al Hassan and placed under him highly trained personal guards from the Russian Special Forces, as it no longer trusts even the members fighting under his command.

Al Hassan’s Resort

 Sources revealed that in mid-2017, roughly after fighting stopped in most Syrian regions, the Russians sought to establish a semi-permanent camp that included militias led by Al Hassan and became a home base for upcoming operations in the liberated north.

“Russian forces started construction at the eastern end of Kuweires airbase with a separate entrance for the militias, converting many of the Aviation College and Institute facilities into buildings for Al Hassan’s militia. Dozens of new buildings, warehouses, and hangars were constructed, making it the largest Russian base in Aleppo,” sources say.

By the end of the year 2018, most of the leadership of this militia moved to the new camp in Kuweires, however Suhail Al Hassan did not move his office there until the beginning of 2019, after a private resort had been prepared for him.

Around August 2019, Russian forces legalized these militias by rebranding them as “25th Special Forces Division” instead of their more infamous name, the Tiger Forces. And despite the military’s issuance to restructure these militias, nothing really changes except for the names, turning mercenary groups into regiments. 

After the renovations of the Kuweires Airbase, and with its floors paved bright blue and a luxurious greenhouse added to its garden, Al Hassan moved to his new resort and residence, which he soon fenced with an external concrete wall, two meters high, topped by an electrified barbed wire and monitored with cameras on an area of about 16,000 square meters.

East to the officer’s resort, there is a garage containing a number of armored SUVs, a helipad with 2 Kyzyl helicopters on call, and, to the south of the helipad, two Tochka missile launch sites, which has a maximum firing range of 70 km.

The sources continue that a Russian volunteer office is set to receive recruiting requests to the 25th Division and other Russian militias, such as the Fifth Corps and the 16th Assault Brigade. 

Prison outside the law

An informed source revealed that Suhail Al Hassan established a 220 square meter detention center in the same headquarters equipped with two great halls that could hold hundreds of people, in addition to interrogation, torture and liquidation rooms.
According to the source, one of the torture methods in this prison, which some call “the black prison”, is to refuse providing medical attention for sick detainees, regardless of the severity of their illness.

Those killed under torture are delivered to the Military Hospital in Aleppo, to be handed over to their families, or are buried directly in public cemeteries west of the city of Aleppo, at times without informing any of their relatives.


Zaman Al Wasl
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