In the following lines a testimony by an MP Officer worked in Sednaya Prison, was discharged later, revealing the story of detainees in military prison, some were linked to Al-Qaeda.

This article is also available in: الإنجليزية

Syrian Reporter – Exclusive

“At the beginning and after I had received my new assignment, I was introduced to a fellow officer of whom I was going to assume his responsibilities. This Fellow MP Officer in return explained my new role and my new job description and at the same time made me aware of a special case prisoner. The prisoner who sat in a solitary cell had an Iraqi accent. Short stature, long hair and worked out in his box every day. His name is “Saleh Mohammed Al-Metewti”. He was born in Iraq and played a role of Al-Qaeda-head of security. Since I was in charge of him, we talked every once and a while.
He told me that he was a member of the Baath party and his brother was a senior officer in the Republican Guard, and after the American invasion of Iraq he participated in the resistance, but said he could not fight under the banner of the Baath since it was hated by most of the Iraqis; so he established a battalion with an Islamic name to fight the American troops. Because of the work nature, he was forced to deal with Al-Qaeda in terms of coordination, especially in military operations. After Al-Qaeda expanded into Iraq he was elected as a head of intelligence for the organization. He was arrested twice in Iraq by the U.S forces.

After a while, he moved to Syria in order to expand the activity of Al-Qaeda and establish the Levant Emirate where has was arrested by the Syrian intelligence and four months later he was already gotten transferred through several security branches. He said he was negotiating with the National Security Bureau, and the negotiation process was headed by Major General Asif Shawkat and General Maher Al-Assad, brother of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, participated once in these negotiations. Talks were focused on having Al-Qaeda claims responsibility to the assassination of a significant figure (Rafik Hariri as I understood implicitly) but he didn’t mention any name. He said that the Syrians were trying to corner him but he refused to cooperate till they bring in better offers.
He said when the U.S. forces bombed a site near Abu Kamal, Deir ez-Zor – The Syrian media at that time claimed to be a construction site — but really it was a meeting between senior Al-Qaeda leaders and a Syrian agent , who my prisoner suspected him to be a double agent for the Syrian intelligence. The U.S. intelligence was able to pinpoint the place of the meeting and bombed it. My prisoner was invited to this meeting but didn’t go because of doubts about this double agent. No one survived the attack.

He described the prisoner as someone with anger issues. When he requests something and doesn’t get it he would go in ramps of terrifying rage. The Director of the military prison used to come in person to attend for this Iraqi prisoner needs. It was strange the amount of attention and care he received. But later I found out that there was a letter of recommendation from the General Intelligence Division. At this point I started to realize how important this prisoner was to the Syrian intelligence. I witnessed onetime, the Head of MP visiting him in his cell and promising him to settle his case and arrange for his release but, they were lying to him and he spend the next three years in his solitary confinement.

After Syria erupted in its revolution the prisoner asked for a meeting with director of the prison, Talaat Mohamed Mahfoud, and when he came back I saw blank papers in his hands. He sat in his cell and wrote for two hours then handed me these papers in an envelope addressed to the Bureau of National Security. When I asked him about what was in these paper he claimed it was a plan to force the Syrian opposition to request the army to intervene. I gave this envelop to the prison director who showed interests in it but didn’t discuss the content with me. After this he, the prisoner, was transported from Saydnaya Military Prison to Addra Central and was put in isolation again.
Psychologically, the man was normal; except for those seizures of rage he gets into when someone promises him something and the promise never get delivered. He then will start yelling and shouting and screaming Allah Akbar. He was punctual in his promises and prays five times a day. He was very clever and he can sense if his food was mixed with a sedative.
After this letter to the Bureau of National Security, thirty three detainees were brought to Sadnaya compound; all of them were in miserable conditions. They were arrested in Banias and Dara because of the revolution. Some were famous like (Anas Al-shoghari, Omar Habib Ayrout, Muhammad Ali Baiasy, and Mustafa Yassin), while there were other two that were in a totally different shape. The first was “Mustafa SitMaryam Nasar” AKA, Abu Mousab Al-Suri, and the second was “Mohammed Bahia”. Both were put in isolation, and the only people were in charge of them were the Assistant and the security officer and the officer on call.

I did not have a direct contact with Abu Mousab Al-Suri, but I heard from the Assistant that he had seen a revelation in which he interpreted as a hope. Their case will be solved after the killing of Muammar Kaddafi. That was before Kaddafi death by few months. As I have mentioned before, I didn’t have any sort of direct contact with Al-Suri, but I can confirm that he was executed in 11/23/2011. Guards who were in charge of the execution were frightened. They tied his arms and legs with two handcuffs and held by four men despite his small size. Few days later “Mohammed Bahia” was released after spending one year of his sentence. Both men were from Aleppo.
Abu Mousab was a short man with white skin. He had blonde beard, and penetrating eyes. Mohammed Bahia would go into silence when Abu Mousab coughs. Abu Mousab was held by the Syrians as a service for their American counterpart.