Syrian doctor gathering intel for Mossad captured in Lebanon - report

Posing as an employee of a fictitious company that claims to purify Syria's waters, the doctor reportedly gathered intelligence significant to Israel's security.

 A view of Beirut's international airport in Lebanon February 13, 2021 (photo credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR/REUTERS)
A view of Beirut's international airport in Lebanon February 13, 2021
(photo credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR/REUTERS)

A Syrian doctor working for the Mossad was arrested by Lebanese authorities at Beirut Airport, Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet Al-Akhbar reported on Saturday.

He was arrested last month after Lebanese authorities gathered intelligence suggesting the doctor was collecting maps and information on Syria's sewer networks and water infrastructure, as per the report.

Posing as an employee of a fictitious company that claims to purify Syria's waters, the doctor reportedly gathered intelligence significant to Israel's security.

According to the report, the doctor also acted as an intermediary for Mossad in alleged attempts to recruit his father and two brothers, officers in the Syrian Armed Forces.

The potential recruits were offered up to "thousands of Euros" to collect security intel for Israel, the report claimed.

 Mossad chief David Barnea attends a ceremony marking Remembrance Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 3, 2022.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Mossad chief David Barnea attends a ceremony marking Remembrance Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 3, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The doctor, who was reportedly born in Latakia in 1969, initially entered Syria on foot through Lebanon, to where he arrived from Sweden. He was arrested after local authorities traced his social media accounts, where they found conversations with his Israeli handlers and other Israeli intelligence officials.

How did the Syrian doctor begin allegedly working for Mossad?

During interrogation, the suspect reportedly said he is head of a department in a Stockholm hospital, in Lebanon as part of frequent work trips abroad. He further claimed to have received an email in 2018 by a man who went by 'Cristopher,' offering him a role on the aforementioned water purification project in Syria.

Following several meetings in Stockholm, Damascus and Prague in which the doctor was asked to provide intelligence on Syria's water infrastructure, he met the supposed project manager, a Greek man living in Greece who went by the name 'Paul.'

In the fourth meeting in Italy, which reportedly took place in 2019, the project manager offered to bankroll a cement factory owned by the doctor's father and began to communicate with his family in the hopes of recruiting them. 

The report states that communications gradually became less frequent following the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020. In his interrogation, the doctor reportedly noted that conversations were focused strictly on water purification until July 2020, at which point conversations with his handlers began to revolve around security.