2011 prisoner releases in Syria
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- Assad regime abetted extremists to subvert peaceful uprising, says former intelligence official - The National, January 21, 2014
- Four jihadists, one prison: all released by Assad and all now dead - Richard Spencer, The Telegraph, May 11, 2016
- Men freed from the same prison in 2011 went on to play senior roles in Isil, al-Nusra and other extremist groups. Why they were released - and who later killed them - are some of the key questions of Syria's brutal war.
- Did Assad Deliberately Release Islamist Prisoners to Militarize and Radicalize the Syrian Uprising? - William Van Wagenen, Libertarian Institute, February 22, 2018
- The idea that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deliberately militarized the Syrian uprising and sought to support extremist rebel groups, including ISIS, has been repeated often in the Western press. As proof of such claims, critics of the Syrian government suggest that Assad deliberately released Islamists from Syrian jails; that the Syrian army has not fought ISIS, and that Assad sought to support ISIS by purchasing oil from the terror group. It is argued that Assad took these measures to sabotage the peaceful, democratic uprising he allegedly faced, and in order to convince the West that he was fighting terrorists rather than peaceful pro-democracy protesters. It is presumed that if Assad could be successful in this, the United States would have no choice but to embrace the Syrian government as a partner in the so-called War on Terror against ISIS and other extremist groups, considering Assad the lesser evil. Articles to this effect have appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Independent (UK), the Wall Street Journal, and Der Spiegel, among others.