Syria: Mukhabarat and the desert prison

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Intelligence Online 30/06/2011 – The Palmyre prison, or Tadmor in Arabic, which closed in 2001, has recently re-opened according to Intelligence Online’s sources in the adjacent town. Some 350 individuals suspected of organising anti-regime demonstrations were taken to the facility in the middle of the desert 200km north of Damascus on June 15. They arrived around 10pm aboard containers transported by four Tata lorries.

The prison is managed jointly by the military police, which is in charge of transporting the prisoners, and the intelligence service of the army led by General Abdel-Fatah Qudsiyah, who is supervising interrogation. Mohammed al-Shaar who was appointed interior minister on March 14, ran the prison in the 1980s. On 27 June 1980, a day after a failed attempt to assassinate the then Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, military units under the command of Rifaat al-Assad, the president’s brother, entered into the prison and killed thousands of inmates.