Assad staged terrorist attacks on his own government while supporting ISIL
...The story goes on to say that the CIA still believes al-Qaeda was behind the attacks. I think US intelligence's track record in Syria is not great. Syria is a mess. It is like a three-dimensional chess match played with mirrors. It is probably pretty hard to find a trustworthy source in the country.
First, Assad tried to ingratiate himself with Western leaders by portraying the national uprising against him as a terrorist-led revolt. When that failed, he released jailed Islamic extremists who’d fought against U.S. troops in Iraq, then staged phony attacks on government facilities, which he blamed on terrorists. Far from fighting ISIS, Assad looked the other way when it set up a state-within-a-state with its capital in Raqqa, and left it to the U.S. and others to take the battle to the Islamic extremists.
ISTANBUL—When Syria’s national uprising began in March 2011, Gen. Awad al Ali was in charge of criminal investigations in the Syrian capital. One year later, the country’s top police professional was a marked man.
A string of mystery suicide bombings had targeted major security installations in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, starting in late December 2011, and al Ali, fearing he’d be next, took the modest precaution of blocking off a street near his office.
The real threat, he later concluded, was not from “terrorists” that the regime said was behind the suicide bombings—but from the regime itself.
The first sign the regime was behind the bombings was when a top military aide to President Bashar al Assad stopped by al Ali’s office to examine his security arrangements. Gen. Salim al Ali, Assad’s special assistant for Damascus affairs and no relation to Awad al Ali, wasn’t there to urge better precautions. Just the opposite.
On Friday, March 16, Selim Ali telephoned Ali from the Republican Palace, al Assad’s presidential residence. “The street you blocked is to be opened,” Salim Ali told him. “This is an order from President Bashar al Assad.
Awad al Ali kept the barricades in place, and one day later, suicide car bombers attacked two other security installations in Damascus and a third in Tadamon, far from any a security building. He concluded he was the real target.
If he had taken down the barricade, “I and my colleagues would be dead,” al Ali, who has served the opposition coalition as interior minister and acting defense minister, told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview.
Al Ali’s narrow escape convinced him that the Assad regime staged the string of suicide bombings beginning three months earlier to back up its narrative that terrorists threatened the state.