Five arrested in alleged handover of Syrian colonel

Five arrested in alleged handover of Syrian colonel

Five arrested in alleged handover of Syrian colonel

The five suspects are taken to prison after being arrested by court in Adana. DHA photo

An Adana court yesterday ordered the arrest of five people suspected of turning over to Syria a founder of the Free Syrian Army, who is reported to have since been executed.

The suspects included a member of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the Anatolia news agency reported.

They are being investigated for “political espionage” and for deprivation of liberty in the case of Hussein al-Harmoush and Mustafa Kassum, the report said.

In a statement on Feb. 10, the chief prosecutor’s office said the investigation was about the alleged handing over of two Syrians – Lt. Col. al-Harmoush and Mustafa Kassum – to Syrian government forces. The two dissidents were “forcefully taken from their shelters” in the southern province of Hatay and handed over to Syrian forces, the statement said.

The lawyers of suspects, who were only identified with their initials as S.Ö., S.A.K., M.A., Y.N. and M.N., did not give any information to reporters about their clients or the investigation, citing a court issued confidentiality order.

Al-Harmoush had defected in June to Turkey, but in September, he was arrested in Syria. Al-Harmoush was “tricked by Syrian intelligence,” who was able to penetrate the refugee camps in Hatay, into returning to Syria, one Syrian dissident, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Feb. 10. The dissident rejected claims that Turkish intelligence played a role in the incident.
Turkey is home to more than 7,500 Syrians who have fled al-Assad’s deadly crackdown on opponents that has left more than 6,000 people dead since mid-March according to human rights groups.