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INTERNATIONAL > Western spies helping Syria rebels: reports

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Rebels with of the Free Syrian Army fire from one of their forward positions against snippers of the Syrian government forces in Aleppo. AFP photo

Rebels with of the Free Syrian Army fire from one of their forward positions against snippers of the Syrian government forces in Aleppo. AFP photo

British and German spies are involved in covert operations to help Syrian rebels in their fight to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, press reports said yesterday.

Agents from Germany’s foreign intelligence service (BND) are operating on ships off the coast with technology allowing them to observe troop movements 600 kilometers inside the country, said the Bild am Sonntag weekly. They pass their findings onto U.S. and British officers who then supply the rebels with the information, Bild said.

The paper quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying that “no Western intelligence service has such good sources inside Syria” as Germany’s BND. A defense ministry spokesman told Agence France-Presse it was “correct that a ship is currently on an operation in the region that is due to last several months” but denied it was a “spy boat” as it has been presented in the German press. German agents are also active in the Syrian conflict from the NATO base in the Turkish city of Adana, according to Bild.

Via Turkish officials

Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper also said British intelligence was helping rebels launch successful attacks on government forces with information gathered from their listening posts in nearby Greek Cyprus.

The newspaper quoted the official as saying British authorities “know about and approve 100%” intelligence from their Greek Cyprus military bases being passed through Turkey to the rebel troops of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

“British intelligence is observing things closely from Cyprus. It’s very useful because they find out a great deal,” the official told the newspaper. “The British are giving the information to the Turks and the Americans and we are getting it from the Turks.”

August/20/2012

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