Police in Berlin, Germany have arrested two men they believe were working as “spies” for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
According to reports, the two men -- one a German-Lebanese and the other a Syrian -- were conducting surveillance on anti-Assad protesters in Germany and perhaps elsewhere.
BBC reported that the Syrian was identified as a 34-year-old man named “Akram O.,” while the other man was a 47-year-old called “Mahmoud El. A.” The two men will appear before a federal judge on Wednesday.
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.
German police, who have already searched the defendants’ residences following an “extensive investigation”, are also probing six other suspects who may also have been spying for Assad. BBC noted that unconfirmed reports suggested that the detained men are linked to the Syrian embassy in Berlin – the site of anti-Assad protests. Last Friday, according to police, during a demonstration against the brutal crackdown of protesters in Syria by Assad’s security forces, almost two dozen people broke into the Berlin Syrian embassy and damaged property and offices.
In late December, a Syrian dissident named Ferhad Ahma, who is also a member of the opposition Syrian National Council and a Green Party politician, claimed he was beaten up in his flat by two men affiliated with Assad. Ahma and Green officials suspect the attackers were part of Syrian secret services, but that has not been confirmed.
Separately, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle reportedly wants to close the German embassy in Damascus – a step the United States has already taken.