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'Iraqi and US intelligence agents forced Syrians to make confession'

Dahi Hassan, Khaleej Times Online

MA'ARAT AL NO'UMAN, SYRIA, 29 March 2005 Ś The families and relatives of the Syrian citizens, who last week appeared on Iraqi state television making confessions alleging that they were Syrian intelligence officers, confirmed that those "officers" are merely leather dealers who left their shops at this small town to sell their products in the neighbouring Arab country.

They asserted that Ahmed Al Farra and Mahmoud Al Rammah were threatened and forced by Iraqi and US intelligence agents to make such anti-Syrian political confessions as part of a well-organised campaign to destabilise Syria and build up a case to attack it.

"My son Ahmed is a colonel! A colonel in the intelligence! He has not even completed his elementary school. He is a sick man who has recently undergone several surgeries," said Umm Ahmed, mother of Ahmed Al Farra, the Syrian citizen who appeared on Al Iraqiyya Satallite TV Channel, claiming that he was a colonel in the Syrian intelligence apparatus which was running agents in Iraq and managing insurgents camps.

Umm Ahmed said that she was surprised to see her son Ahmed appearing on the Iraqi state television, but her surprise turned into an utter shock when he said that he was a colonel serving at the Syrian intelligence! "Ahmed never left this town for long periods of time since his birthday in 1977. He has been always busy collecting raw leather materials, handling them, then selling them throughout the country. It was only few years back when he was convinced to sell his products in Iraq as he was told that he can make more money over there," she said, wondering how can a 27-year-old man be a colonel or a brigadier!

Umm Ahmed urged international human rights groups, media, and the UN to help free her son from the "hands of those who have captured him and forced him to make the false statement."

Dr Ziyad Al Hiraki, a physician based in Ma'arat Al No'uman, said that the second "Syrian intelligence officer" who appeared on the Iraqi TV station making confessions against his own country, was nobody but Mohmoud Al Rammah, one of his patients.

"I knew Mahoud for a long period of time since he is a sick man with chronic hear diseases. I was shocked to see him on TV since I knew that it was very difficult to him to travel since he can not even walk," said Dr Al Hiraki, adding that fat Mahmoud kept sitting throughout the interview and his interviewers were keen not to show his disability.

Imad Abdulrazzaq Al Sheet, a leather dealer from Ma'arat Al No'uman, said that he knew both Ahmed and Mahmoud for a long time since they all work in the same profession.

:: Article nr. 10745 sent on 29-mar-2005 08:34 ECT


Link: www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2005/March/middlee

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