Bashar Assad - AP - June 20, 2011
Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at Damascus University, June 20, 2011. Photo by AP
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WikiLeaks.org
Photo by WikiLeaks.org

The WikiLeaks website began publishing what it said was millions of documents linked to the inner workings of the Syria regime on Thursday, amid continued sectarian violence that has torn the country apart for over a year.

According to a statement released by WikiLeaks, the more than 2.4 million files are derived "from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in the statement that the cache of documents "is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents."

"It helps us not merely to criticize one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it," Assange added.

According to the release, the new cache includes 2,434,899 emails from the 680 domains, "with 678,752 different email addresses that have sent emails and 1,082,447 different recipients."

"There are a number of different languages in the set, including around 400,000 emails in Arabic and 68,000 emails in Russian," the statement added, saying that the data is more than eight times the size of ’Cablegate’ in terms of number of documents, and more than 100 times the size in terms of data."

Preliminary releases indicate a link between Syrian security forces and Selex, a subsidiary of Italian firm industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica.

A WikiLeaks spokesperson said that the released database includes emails demonstrating that Selex sold a technology called Tetra to the Syrian government. This technology allows police forces to communicate in a secure and reliable manner. The database demonstrates that selling assistance and training by Selex continued through to this year."

Earlier this year, documents from the office of Syrian President Bashar Assad obtained by Haaretz showed that Iran has been helping Syria bypass the international sanctions imposed on it for massacring civilians.

The documents show that Iran has given the Syrian regime more than $1 billion, which would help it overcome the oil embargo and other moves including restrictions on flights and sanctions against the central bank.

The documents were leaked following a cyber-attack by hackers known as Anonymous against the e-mail server of the Syrian president's office. Seventy-eight employees in President Bashar Assad's office had their e-mail hacked. One of these accounts belonged to the minister of presidential affairs, Mansour Azzam; it included two documents signed by him that dealt with relations between Syria and Iran.