Revealed: Belgian military intelligence made approaches to Assad
Share article:
Share article:

Revealed: Belgian military intelligence made approaches to Assad

© kremlin.ru
President Assad meets in Damascus with Russian president Vladimir Putin
© kremlin.ru

Belgian military intelligence made at least two approaches to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria in 2016, without the knowledge of the minister who oversaw the service, it was revealed by De Morgen newspaper. The contacts came after the terrorist attacks in March of that year, at Brussels Airport and the Brussels metro. Military intelligence is concerned with all foreign intelligence operations, and had tried to make contact with Syria in order to help determine the whereabouts of jihad extremists in Europe, who might have been planning further attacks.

The service, ADIV/SGRS, had also been in touch with the Kurdish YPG movement, which combats Islamic State in Syria.

The then-head of the service, General Testelmans, now retired, had planned a personal visit, but in the end it never took place.

The military intelligence service falls under the responsibility of the defence ministry. The minister at the time of the contacts, Steven Vandeput (N-VA) denies having had any knowledge of the approach to the Syrian regime. Vandeput stepped down in November last year to become mayor of Hasselt, shortly before his party colleagues left the governing coalition.

As well as information on terrorists in Europe, the paper says, the contacts aimed to establish an emergency line of communication between Belgium and Syria. At the time, Belgian pilots were taking part in bombing missions on IS in Syria. If one of the Belgian F-16 planes had been shot down, military intelligence wanted to be able to find and evacuate him as quickly as possible. However, the contacts failed to achieve the establishment of such a system, for reasons that remain unclear.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...
‘Absurd’: all Brussels schools should have the same Covid rules
Several city councillors for education in Brussels are calling to abolish the "absurd" differences in coronavirus measures for Dutch-speaking and ...
Massive renovations for iconic venue in the heart of Brussels
Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique has announced plans to renovate the AB Café and the AB Salon and is looking for a contractor fit for the job. ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Test results show pupils have fallen behind in Flemish schools
Learning delays have been reported in almost all subject areas in Flanders since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continued in 2021, a ...
Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...