Monday, 6 October 2014

Captured Russian spy facility reveals the extent of Russian aid to the Assad regime

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 

On the 5th of October 2014, the Free Syrian Army captured the Центр С - المركز س - Center S SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) facility (logo on top) jointly operated by the Russian Osnaz GRU radio electronic intelligence agency (logo on the right) and one of the Syrian Intelligence Agencies (logo on the left). Situated near al-Hara, the facility was of vital importance for the Assad regime as it was responsible for recording and decrypting radio communications from every rebel group operating inside Syria, making it likely the Russian-gathered information at this facility was at least partially responsible for the series of killings of rebel leaders by airstrikes.

Translation from 3:08; ''A directive issued by the surveillance office on May 31 to eavesdrop and record all radio communications of the terrorist groups, directive signed by brigadier-general Nazir Fuddah, commander of the first center''

The facility was recently upgraded and expanded by Russia to provide Syria and Iran with situational awareness of the Middle East. After the upgrade, which took from January to mid-February, it reportedly covered the whole of Israel and Jordan and a large part of Saudi Arabia.[1] According to the report, the upgrade was a reaction to Iranian concern of the facility being too much focused on the Syrian Civil War, neglecting espionage on Israel. New equipment and additional personnel was thus added to the base. As only static and worn out looking sensors were captured [2] [3], the more modern equipment and Russian personnel were undoubtedly evecuated days or weeks before.

It is unknown if the facility is named Center S ('S' for Syria or special), it is known there's at least one other Russian-Syrian SIGINT facility around, named Center S-2. A badge commemorating the ten year anniversary of this other spy facility can be seen below.

The Russian operator of Center S was the Osnaz GRU, responsible for radio electronic intelligence within Russia's Armed Forces. Although not much is known about this unit, its logos can be seen below. "Части особого назначения" - Osnaz GRU and "Военная радиоэлектронная разведка" - Military Radio Electronic Intelligence.

Various photos on the wall inside the captured facility once again emphasise the Russian involvement in the Middle East, showing even a map of Israeli Armed Forces bases and units. Other photos detail Russian personnel working at and running the center, as well as highlight a visit by Kudelina L.K., Counselor to the Minister of Defence of Russian Federation.

''Совместная обработка информации российскими и сирийскими офицерами'' and ''معالجة مشتركة للمعلومات بين الضباط السوريين والروس'' - Joint processing of information by Russian and Syrian officers.

''Начальники "Центра-С" - Chiefs of Center S. The six lines beneath reveal the ranks of the Russian chiefs, their names and dates when they commanded the Center. All six seem to have rank of Полковник - 'Colonel'. Surnames are not readable.

''Визит советника МО РФ Куделиной Л.И. в Центр'' and ''زيارة مستشار وزارة الدفاع الروسية كوديلني لي للمركز'' - Counselor to the Minister of Defence of Russian Federation Kudelina L.I. visiting the Center. 'Kudelina L.I.' is likely an error as the name should be 'Kudelina L.K'.

''Рабочий визит начальника ГУ МВС ВС РФ'' - Visit by the chief of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation.

''Объекты и источники северного военного округа ВС Израиля'' - Bases and sources of Northern Military District of Israeli Armed Forces. 'Sources' indicates sources of radio signals.

"Карта радиоэлектронной обстановки" - Radio electronic situation map.


  1. 'Объекты и источники северного
    военного округа ВС Израиля'' Should be stations/bases not "Objects"

  2. Antenna on the second photo from the bottom (picture that shaded by an arm of old man) - looks like

  3. @anonymous 6 oct 2014 10:03 : Anyone half aware of what is happening in Syria, since Assad sr & jr have been in power, knows that the main terrorists in Syria are the Bashir Assad regime, followed far back by the ISIS/IS/Daesh(your choice of names).
    The difference between the regime and ISIS is essentially the regime tries to hide its' terrorism from the rest of the world, and the ISIS use it as a recruiting tool. They both use terrorism to lessen resistance to their control.
    As for any government opposed to Assad deliberately supporting the ISIS, no reputable observer has made such claims. True, in the case of Qatar, some government funds landed with the ISIS, but Qatar's indirect way of funding rebels was almost funding by chance. The Saudis have deliberately avoided funding jihadist groups. Their funds have gone to various FSA groups, and the Authenticity and Development Front, a well trained and disciplined moderate group with a slight islamic slant. This is not by accident. The Saudis have been fighting al-Qaida longer than the US, and they even ban relatively moderate groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

    As for Turkey, they are reluctant to fight the Assad regime alone, much like the US with its' coalition against the ISIS. They want a buffer zone for Syrians along their border, a no-fly zone in northern Syrian, and a commitment to fight the Assad regime, before joining the coalition against the ISIS.
    Turkey also has a fixation with armed kurds on it's border, due to the kurdish rebellion in their country, caused by denying basic rights to Turkish kurds.
    even though Syrian kurds represent no threat to Turkey. Turkey recently made 3 demands to actively support Syrian kurds against the ISIS : 1) They fight the Assad regime (They do already according to their means. But they need heavy arms to fight the regime in Hasaka. They are now in a formal alliance with the FSA.) 2) They present no threat to Turkey (It has never been otherwise.) 3) They give up autonomy. (Really up to the kurds and other syrians, the PYD proposes a federal system for all syrians. Which is appropriate considering the ethnic and linguistic diversity of Syria.)

    BTW, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US are all saints compared to both the ISIS and the Syrian regime. It is the Assad regime that has most strongly supported the ISIS, both by buying oil from them, and not attacking them (and often attacking rebel groups in proximity) before the last month or two.

    1. Dude your so full of shit.

      Yes America has the illusion of freedom but you know what fuck Al assad and ISIS, Alqueda. And leave Israel alone you communist terrorist loving (Hamas, Hezbollah, post 1979 Iranian regime) piece of shit.

    2. Your comment is hilarious because Communism was created by Jews.

    3. turkey has been covertly and openly supporting ISIS to profit from the ensuing power vacuum that is to be expected after the fall of assad

    4. Well Turkey (NATO member) shot a Russian jet bombing and/or photographing Turkish forces buying ISIS oil (with 1 of the 2 pilots killed by Turkmen brigades armed and trained by, oh wow, Turkey, and the commander is a former mayor of a Turkish village), and have been caught plotting an invasion with the casus belli being some gravesite from centuries ago. As soon as Turkey helped IS(sunni's just like them) cleanse all shia they will go in and annex some ground and look like the saviour, with some of the Iraqi oilfields already under their control (though they are on thin ice there).

      So as far as "As for any government opposed to Assad deliberately supporting the ISIS, no reputable observer has made such claims." you are proven wrong.

      The Saudis have deliberately avoided funding jihadist groups. Their funds have gone to various FSA groups, and the Authenticity and Development Front, a well trained and disciplined moderate group with a slight islamic slant.""
      They did fund jihadi groups. Saudi Intelligence chief Bandar helped create IS. They just started it out as Al-Nusra, to "topple Assad" during the arab spring, it just created IS instead, a slightly more radical group. That now hates wahabis for being too lenient. Ever heard of Pandora's box?

      "This is not by accident. The Saudis have been fighting al-Qaida longer than the US, and they even ban relatively moderate groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood."
      That group is a nice example. That is one that is anti-wahabi. The only real reason they are banned.

  4. @"Anonymous6 October 2014 08:25" If Kolchuga systems works by triangulation, would there need to be another at another site nearby? That is, might the Center S-2 that is mentioned in fact be a necessary component for the Kolchuga framework to work? If so, what might be its maximum distance from Center S[-1], optimized for Israel-sourced signals? Within that scope is where S-2 must be...

  5. Not sure the label 'espionage' is correct; the Russians are in uniform, chain of command with names is posted, and the units are all designated openly. It's military intel for sure, but it's a uniformed ally operating a listening post at the pleasure of the host nation.

    1. unlike the american SIGINT-Installations all over the "free world" for example in the american embassies in alle european countries

  6. What we see in those photos is local information ?
    Most import where the ammunition are coming Syria , Yemen , etc. needed ammunition all arrive most from Balkans to S.Arabia and then transport to Locations , Russia,Syria,Turks,USA, killing each other the locals ,. PKK needs A Nation, all wanted piece with out answer? PS keep killing to the end ?

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