Information on whether the Syrian intelligence in Lebanon forces ordinary citizens to act as spies [LBN14911]

A specialist in Lebanese affairs in Ottawa stated that Syria's control over Lebanon has allowed it to establish a strong intelligence network, including a Lebanon branch of the Mukhabarat (Syrian Security Service) (29 July 1993). The source added that intelligence service or spying is also a political factor (Ibid.). For example, when the leaders of the various political factions and militias (either government or non-government) travel to Damascus to meet with Syrian officials, information is exchanged on a regular basis (Ibid.). The source reported that Syria's stake in Lebanon is so important that its military intelligence service must rely on a network of informants that crosses all of the political factions, militias and sectarian groups (Ibid.). The source stated that Syria has enough power in Lebanon to force people to work for them, whether for intelligence-gathering or other purposes, although they are slowly trying to channel their influence through the Lebanese authorities (Ibid.). The source mentioned that "volunteer" intelligence informants can have several allegiances at the same time, possibly working for both Syria and Egypt for example (Ibid.). Syria is not the only country to run military intelligence operation in Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and the United States are other examples (Ibid.).

According to a September 1990 Middle East Watch report, the Syrian Military intelligence is a large and important agency whose extensive network has been responsible for many arrests and abductions in Lebanon (63). For information on the Syrian Security Service, please refer to the attached Middle East Watch report.

Additional and/or corroborating information on this subject is currently unavailable to the DIRB in Ottawa.


Middle East Watch. 1990. Human Rights in Syria. New York: Human Rights Watch Publications.

Specialist of Lebanese Affairs, Ottawa. 29 July 1993. Telephone Interview with Representative.


Middle East Watch. 1990. Human Rights in Syria. New York: Human Rights Watch Publications.