WikiLeaks said Thursday it was publishing over two million emails from Syrian political figures dating back to 2006 but also covering the period of the crackdown on dissent by Syria’s regime.
"Just now... WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria files, more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies dating from August 2006 to March 2012," said Sarah Harrison, spokeswoman for the anti-secrecy website.
The latest disclosures could throw fresh light on the workings of the Syrian regime and its interactions with allies in the run-up to and during the current bloody crackdown.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the 16 months of bloodshed in Syria have claimed more than 16,500 lives.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London seeking political asylum, said in a written statement: "The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s external opponents.
"It helps us not merely to criticise 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."
WikiLeaks said the first files, released on Wednesday, reveal that Italian defence giant Finmeccanica has provided communications equipment to the Syrian regime since the unrest began.
The communications system was provided by Finmeccanica’s subsidiary SELEX Elsag, in claims by WikiLeaks published by Italian magazine L’Espresso.
WikiLeaks’ announcement comes a day after Russia denied having discussed with Washington offering exile to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
It also comes ahead of a meeting Friday in Paris of the "Friends of Syria" group of countries which support tougher action against Assad’s government.
WikiLeaks said the 2,434,899 emails came from Syrian ministries including foreign affairs, finance and presidential affairs. There are around 400,000 emails in Arabic but also 68,000 in Russian.
Harrison said WikiLeaks could not comment on the full contents of the release, which is being organised in collaboration with media partners in countries including the US, Lebanon, Egypt, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
"This is a large data set. It will take time for these stories to come out," she said at a press conference in London announcing the release.
She refused to comment on how WikiLeaks had obtained the emails, telling AFP: "We never comment on our sourcing."
"WikiLeaks held a press conference to announce the Syria Files on July 5, 2012 at the Frontline Club in London. Since Julian Assange is currently at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the presser was given by WikiLeaks staffer Sarah Harrison." (Skip to 5:00 to begin)
Britain To Outlaw "Hatred" and "Extremism" 2015-05-28 1:53
UK home secretary Theresa May : "But what we're talking about is they key values that underline our society and are being undermined by the extremists. Values like democracy, a belief in democracy, a belief in the rule of law. A belief in tolerance ...eh... for other people. Equality and acceptance for other people's faith and religions.
One of the great ...
Killer robots will leave humans 'utterly defenceless' warns professor 2015-05-28 1:08
Robots, called LAWS â€“ lethal autonomous weapons systems â€“ will be able to kill without human intervention.
Killer robots which are being developed by the US military â€˜will leave humans utterly defencelessâ€˜, an academic has warned.
Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when ...
Here's how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill 2015-05-28 1:21
Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle.
A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the ...
Top Bush Era CIA Official Just Confirmed the Iraq War Was Based On Lies 2015-05-28 0:28
Twelve years after George W Bush initiated the illegal invasion of Iraq, ostensibly under the premise of preemptive self-defense, a stark majority - as many as 75% in 2014 - feel the so-called war was a mistake. As evidence rapidly accumulates that Bush's yearning to launch an aggressive attack was likelier due to a personal grudge than anything else, that ...