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POLITICS > MIT spy kidnapped Syrian army defector, delivered him to Assad: report

Istanbul - Hürriyet Daily News

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Former Turkish intelligence officer Ö.S., who was discharged from the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) last week, was detained for alleged connection to the kidnapping of a Syrian officer who had defected from the Syrian army, reports have said.

Free Syrian Army (FSA) founder Col. Mustafa Harmuş had defected from the Syrian army in June and started living in a camp in Turkey's Hatay province. Harmuş had drawn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ire after he appeared on numerous TV channels and accused the Syrian regime of crimes against humanity. The Syrian government had placed a $100,000 reward for his capture before Harmuş disappeared on Aug 29.

Ö.S., an active Turkish intelligence officer at the time, became a suspect in the disappearance after police found out about phone conversations between him and four other people, talking about the kidnapping, according a report by the daily Hürriyet said.

Ö.S. had forged official letters to take Harmuş out of the camp in Hatay, claiming he would take Harmuş to another location in Gaziantep province, the report said. Instead, Ö.S. delivered Harmuş to two of his accomplices, who then handed him over to the Syrian police, it added.

Turkish police has been running a surveillance operation on Ö.S. and four others for five months and waited for Ö.S.'s return from Syria, where he had gone to on Feb. 3 allegedly to collect the reward for handing over Harmuş.

Meanwhile, MİT discharged Ö.S. from the agency after police presented phone and video recordings of him, showing his involvement in the kidnapping. Police raided nine separate locations yesterday, detaining four suspects and capturing Ö.S. as he entered from Syria into Turkey. Bundles of US Dollars were found hidden in the trunk of his car, reports said.

Adana public prosecutor's office charged Ö.S. and four others with "espionage."

Col. Mustafa Harmuş was claimed to be executed by the Syrian regime after he was delivered by the suspects.

February/11/2012

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