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German Prosecutor Issues Arrest Warrant for Syrian Military Official - Reports

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Peter Frank, the German public prosecutor general for the Federal Court of Justice, issued an international arrest warrant for Jamil Hassan, the head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate, accusing him of crimes against humanity, Der Spiegel reported on Friday.

The charges filed with Germany's Federal Court of Justice included claims that Hassan must have been aware of, or commanded the directorate’s personnel as they tortured and killed hundreds of inmates in Syrian detention facilities between 2011 and 2013, Der Spiegel magazine reported.

The prosecutor's decision to issue the warrant was based on photographs depicting thousands of the alleged victims of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, taken by a photographer code-named Caesar, and several eyewitness reports detailing the alleged torture and killings, the outlet added.

The publication noted that the spokeswoman for the German federal prosecutor’s office had declined to comment on the issue.

High-ranking officials familiar with the Hassan probe told the magazine that there was little hope that the top Syrian military official would be captured anytime soon.

"We will not forget about this. We want to get this man," one of the officials said.

The outlet noted that Hassan was one of the Assad’s associates and had contributed to the Air Force Intelligence Directorate's reputation as a brutal and violent force. The magazine also stated that since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Hassan had called for the hostile oppression of the opposition by Syrian pro-government forces.

The photos taken by Caesar came to public attention in 2014. The military defector is known to have made copies of photos of people who had lived and died in detention or after being transferred to hospitals from his workplace between 2011 and 2013. Caesar is believed to have smuggled a total of 53,275 photographs out of Syria.

After Caesar’s photos were revealed by human rights groups, Damascus said that the images were fake.

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