Political Security, Aleppo


The Political Security Branch is located in al-Sulaimaniyya, a predominantly Christian neighbourhood in Aleppo, which is considered to be a middle-class area. The site dates back to the beginning of the year 2000 when Bashar al-Assad assumed power.

This Political Security Branch is less notorious in comparison with the other branches; because the State Security Branch and the Military Investigation Branch dominate and control the city’s main resources and strongholds, leaving no chance for other branches to step in. They regard citizens, in general, and detainees, in particular, as an important part of their influence and hegemony. This branch is partially marginalised for two reasons: The lack of interest on behalf of the Presidency since the days of Hafez al-Assad and during the rule of his son, Bashar, in this branch and in its staff, and: The nature of tasks that this branch is assigned to manage and investigate.

Nevertheless, severe torture remains the most common tool that this branch uses to perform malpractices. Generally, the officers at this branch are said to be less brutal and arbitrary compared to those at the State and Military Security Branches. However, it does dominate a large portion of the public civil society movement. In practice, almost all business deals, significant economic disputes and licences for factories and large commercial and economic establishments must go through, and be approved by this branch, which means it has a big share in the capitals of all these establishments and their revenues.

This branch had also played a major role in suppressing the 1980 events carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood. It was again an important partner in the current events which started in the beginning of 2011 to this hour. Investigations in this branch can easily and quickly result in amputation and mutilation.

And every month, many detainees that the branch fails to convict for the lack of criminal evidence are simply executed.

During the 1980s and 1990s, this branch arrested and detained tens of thousands of people who ended up in the notorious prison of Tadmur, one of the main castles of torture that the Assad regime had always relied on to complement the cycle of terror and tighten its grip on power during the current rule by Bashar and his father before since 1970.