“There is an entire Al Qaida infrastructure in eastern Syria that includes induction, training, financing and logistics,” an official said. “The Syrian regime knows about this and allows this to continue.”
The report says the Syrian government received “tens of millions of dollars in bribes” to allow Al-Qaeda to operate and that the regime has been promised that it won’t be targeted in return for their safe harbor.
There has been debate about whether “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” is really related to the same “Al-Qaeda” that operates under Bin Laden’s leadership and carried out the 9/11 attacks, but this report makes clear that the operatives in Syria come straight from Bin Laden’s ranks.
Issa Al-Masri, a high-level Al-Qaeda operative, left Pakistan for Syria in June, and even operates from Damascus, where he coordinates the flow of money and weapons into Iraq.
Also working from Damascus under the protection of Syrian intelligence are two former senior members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, Sattam Farhan and Mohammed Younis Al-Ahmed. According to the report, the Baath remanants and Al-Qaeda are actively working together from Syria to carry out attacks on the elected Iraqi government.