Iran is providing crucial equipment and technical help to Syria in its effort to track opposition forces through the Internet and other forms of electronic surveillance, according to U.S. officials.
The aid is the latest example of how Iran is helping Syria in its battle against rebel forces threatening the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The technical assistance is coming mainly through Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the officials said.
Iran, which has long experience in tracking dissidents internally, has supplied surveillance and communications gear, as well as technical support in computer-network surveillance, said one intelligence official. Like others interviewed, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity.
Among the tactics in which Iran is advising the Syrians is how to gain access to Web forums and chat rooms, where they pose as opposition members to identify and track targets, the intelligence official said. Syrian agents are then dispatched to kill the rebels, the officials said.