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Captured Russian Spy Facility Reveals the Extent of Russian Aid to the Assad Regime

On the 5th of October 2014, the Free Syrian Army captured the Центр С – المركز س – Center S SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) facility (logo on top) jointly operated by the Russian Osnaz GRU radio electronic intelligence agency (logo on the right) and one of the Syrian Intelligence Agencies (logo on the left). Situated near Al Hara, the facility was of vital importance for the Assad regime as it was responsible for recording and decrypting radio communications from every rebel group operating inside Syria, making it likely the Russian-gathered information at this facility was at least partially responsible for the series of killings of rebel leaders by airstrikes.

Translation from 3:08; ”A directive issued by the surveillance office on May 31 to eavesdrop and record all radio communications of the terrorist groups, directive signed by brigadier-general Nazir Fuddah, commander of the first center”

The facility was recently upgraded and expanded by Russia to provide Syria and Iran with situational awareness of the Middle East. After the upgrade, which took from January to mid-February, it reportedly covered the whole of Israel and Jordan and a large part of Saudi Arabia.[1] According to the report, the upgrade was a reaction to Iranian concern of the facility being too much focused on the Syrian Civil War, neglecting espionage on Israel. New equipment and additional personnel was thus added to the base. As only static and worn out looking sensors were captured [2] [3], the more modern equipment and Russian personnel were undoubtedly evecuated days or weeks before.

It is unknown if the facility is named Center S (‘S’ for Syria or special), it is known there’s at least one other Russian-Syrian SIGINT facility around, named Center S-2. A badge commemorating the ten year anniversary of this other spy …read more

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