The Washington Post has published –In a report Her- Excerpts from an American book entitled “A Red Line”, which talks about the role of a Syrian scientist in leaking the secrets of the Syrian chemical program for the CIA, and how he ended up revealing himself.
The newspaper report says that the “CIA” referred to the Syrian researcher with the title “alchemist”, and that few people knew him. He is a talented university professor and is fit for a spy mission.
He adds that the “chemical” spy spent part of his youth in the United States, where he studied in its schools and played sports, and joined the scouting teams, before returning to his country to become an expert in the manufacture of chemical weapons. And he was so proud of his work that he raised suspicions about himself.
Beginning of the story
The story began in Damascus in 1988, and his first attempt to communicate with the Americans was at a scientific conference held in Europe, where he asked a friend of his to pass a message to the nearby American embassy.
Several months passed before the CIA called him, but he was not surprised when someone approached him after a lecture at Damascus University. That person was in charge of the “CIA”. The spy – who was not more than 20 years old – told him, “I was waiting for you, called me by the name of Ayman.”
When the civil war erupted in 2011, US intelligence feared that Syria would lose control of its chemical weapon, especially sarin and other deadly nerve gases.
These fears were reinforced – according to the book – with a 14-year collaboration with the “chemist”. The US intelligence knew the size of the chemical weapons that Syria possessed, and it was aware of its caches and the Center for Studies and Research, which is located on a hill overlooking the capital Damascus, to provide engineering studies for the production of medium-range missiles to be used against Israel. Inside the center there was a secret unit known as the “Institute of 3000”, and Ayman was one of the prominent officials and leaders in it, and his job was to produce deadly toxic materials to be placed in missile warheads, and scientists called this project “the shakoush.”
Due to Ayman’s participation, Institute 3000 advanced the chemical weapons program that began with the sarin gas used in the trenches of World War I in Europe, but moved to higher stages by focusing on nerve gases that the institute began producing in a factory outside the capital.
The CIA agent listened attentively to what the Syrian said, as the CIA was aware of the Syrians ’interest in chemical weapons. In the eighties of the last century, the Syrians alluded to “deterrence” against Israel in exchange for its nuclear weapons. Was this the intended weapon?
Equation unique to Syria
Because the production of sarin on a large scale – as it was in America and Russia during the Cold War – is difficult for a small country, and it usually loses its effectiveness over time, the Syrian scientist has developed a clever method through which he produces a “dual sarin” that is stored separately and does not mix Except at the last minute.
Ayman contributed to the discovery of liquid substances such as regular “isopropyl” alcohol and the lethal “DF” that contain various elements, and additional materials, which are substances that helped maintain the strength of sarin between the two mixing periods. No country other than Syria has produced sarin, by developing such an equation.
The American agent transmitted what happened from the conversation with the Syrian scientist in a secret telegram he sent to the headquarters of the CIA, and what was contained in it was analyzed, and it was proven that it is real and more than important. And the Syrian scientist receives a salary that is transferred to his special account in a safe shelter.
The book states that with the beginning of the current century, the Syrian laboratory complex expanded – steadily – into a network of laboratories, production centers, production complexes, warehouses, and 40 storage trenches in a number of locations from Damascus to Aleppo in the north. Researchers kept trying new products, but the stock of binary sarin increased to between 1.3 tons and 1.5 tons. And because Syria was in a stable situation, there was no need to produce additional materials.
The account of the Syrian spy abroad grew from the money and commissions he received from buyers, and he became 50 years old, but something that was not good happened, as security personnel came to the Center for Studies and Research at the end of 2001 to talk with him, and asked him to accompany them, and Ayman was terrified .
Investigation and execution
The investigation began at the headquarters of the Syrian Intelligence, where the Director of Intelligence Assef Shawkat – who is the son-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad – listened to what Ayman said with a kind of surprise, and decided to ask him about the commissions he received from foreign companies, as his greed was the reason that prompted the intelligence to investigate him, and not You do not know anything about his espionage activities. The investigation concluded with Shawkat’s saying, “You have been proven to be betrayed.” He told the fearful scholar that the government was aware of all his secret activities, and it was better to confess and ask for pardon based on the services he provided to the Republic.
Ayman admitted everything, and told the Syrian intelligence about his meetings with the “CIA” and the information he passed on to the Americans and financial accounts in safe places. He said that no one knew of his activities, including his research companions and his two wives, but had worked on it himself.
The court found Ayman guilty of high treason in a secret trial, about which nothing was known, but she was described to the staff at the Studies and Research Center to teach them a lesson. Ayman was given special treatment, as he is a traitor and a national hero at the same time, and his wives and children were allowed to leave Syria abroad and start a new life. As for him, he was transferred to Adra prison, where he was awakened in the morning of April 2002 and transferred blindfolded to the prison yard and executed there.