The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps(IRGC) of Iran opened its own prison in the Zamla gas field in the countryside of Raqqa in northeastern Syria.
The news of the recently established prison in Syria comes as the Iranian government is wrestling with overlapping crises: an unrelenting coronavirus outbreak, economic woes compounded by U.S. sanctions, widespread power outages that have set off protests, and severe water shortages that sparked protests in southwestern Iran. In recent weeks there have also been waves of labor unrest, including strikes by oil workers.
The source added, “The IRGC has several prisons in the area, namely the Hamdan airport prison in al-Bukamal, one in the city of al-Mayadin, one next to al-Tala’i camp in Deir ez-Zor and another in the Homs desert in Palmyra. The latter was established at the end of 2019, consisting of three buildings, containing 10 cells, and the director of the prison is a Syrian affiliated with the Iranian militias called Jumaa al-Daher.”
“The new prison in Zamla is completely secluded. All the IRGC prisons bear the banner of the Syrian regime for camouflage purposes to avoid being targeted by airstrikes,” said the source.
According to sources who spoke to Syria TV website on July 12, the new prison consists of a one-story building divided into two sections and four interrogation rooms. Half of the prison is underground, and the upper part is surrounded by high berms. The area of the section dedicated to civilian detainees is 55 square meters and contains more than 90 detainees, most of whom are displaced people from the countryside of Homs.
Col. Fayez al-Asmar, a strategic expert based in Turkey who provides military analyzations to a number of local and Arab newspapers, told Al-Monitor, “All the influential players in Syria have multiple centers and prisons in their areas of control, including the IRGC and its militias, which are located in the eastern region. Most of the detainees are arrested on charges of being affiliated with IS or on charges of espionage and providing the coalition and SDF with military information regarding these militias and their movements. Since the IRGC does not completely trust the regime and has its own secret goals, it follows independent work strategies and builds its own prisons close to where its militias are deployed in the desert.”
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