German police arrest two suspected Syrian spies

BERLIN Tue Feb 7, 2012 6:57am EST


Under the Iron Dome

Sirens sound as rockets land deep inside Israel.  Slideshow 

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police arrested two men Tuesday suspected of spying on Syrian opposition activists for President Bashar al-Assad's intelligence services, prosecutors said.

The two men, a 47-year-old with German and Lebanese citizenship identified as Mahmoud El A., and a 34-year-old Syrian named Akram O., were detained in Berlin.

"The accused ... are strongly suspected of investigating members of the Syrian opposition in Germany over a period of years for a Syrian intelligence service," the Federal Prosecutors said in a statement.

About 70 police officers were involved in the operation and also searched apartments used by a further six suspects.

"The other suspects are also believed to have been involved in spying," the Karlsruhe-based prosecutors said.

Information leading to the arrests came from Germany's domestic intelligence service and the two men will appear in a Berlin court Wednesday.

In December, a Green politician for the city of Berlin with a Syrian background, Ferhad Ahma, was beaten up in his flat.

Ahma had been involved in activities against Assad's government and several Green lawmakers have linked the attack to Syria's secret service.

The arrests come as Syrian forces launched a fresh assault on the city of Homs, the latest in a bloody crackdown on a popular revolt which has, according the United Nations, left 5,000 dead.

Syria's government says it is fighting foreign-backed Islamist "terrorists" who have killed 2,000 soldiers and police.

(Reporting By Madeline Chambers)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (1)
MJAC wrote:
Syria is becoming increasingly desperate. Even if President Bashar al-Assad manages to kill, and defeat Rebels, the world has changed and it is not how it was in his Fathers time. The game is over.

Even now, President Bashar al-Assad can still walk away with his wealth, and his life, but every day that passes makes this possibility more remote. His actions will have to become more extreme.

Of course, addicted to power, clinging on with every breath, his stubbornness will lead him inevitably to the kind of end Gaddafi suffered.

Feb 07, 2012 11:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.