Damascus (Agencies): In a strategic shift that benefits Russia at the expense of Iran, the Syrian regime’s security and intelligence services have appointed a number of officers with close ties to Russia to key positions. These officers will be responsible for the Air Force Intelligence branches in Homs, Hama, and the coastal region.

According to an anonymous source from the monitoring and follow-up units of the Syrian opposition, the regime forces appointed Colonel Duraid Awad, from the town of Al-Rabiah in the Hama countryside, as head of the Air Force Intelligence branch in Hama.

Brigadier General Radwan Saqqar, from the town of Beit Yashout in the countryside of the Jableh region in Latakia Governorate, was appointed as head of the Air Force Intelligence Branch in Homs.

Brigadier General Rami Munir Ismail, from Latakia, was appointed as the new head of the Air Force Intelligence branch in the coastal region.

The source stressed that these officers, who were appointed to these sensitive positions, have extensive criminal records against the Syrian people. The three officers appointed on Thursday are reportedly close to Russia. These appointments are seen as part of Russia’s efforts to gain control over the strongest intelligence branch in Syria, the Air Force Intelligence.

Russia is currently trying to gain the Syrian security branches to its advantage through these new appointments, in addition to pulling the military teams from their Iranian influence. This is particularly true since it recently pulled the special forces from the Syrian regime forces towards it after appointing Major General Suhail Al-Hassan as commander.

On April 9, the Ministry of Defence in the Syrian regime’s government appointed Al-Hassan, one of the most prominent criminals in the Syrian regime’s forces, as commander of the army special forces. This was an attempt by Russia to withdraw those forces from Iranian influence and place them under Russian influence, similar to the case of the 25th Special Tasks Division, which was led by Al-Hassan.

Al-Hassan was appointed Special Forces commander and honored by the Russian forces three times in 2016, 2017, and 2018, succeeding Brigadier General Mudar Muhammad Haider, who is close to Iran. The Special Forces, along with the Republican Guard forces, are the backbone of the defense of the Syrian regime’s strongholds and its presence in Damascus.

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