Whistleblower web site WikiLeaks has released the first of its “Syria Files,” a collection of more than 2.4 million e-mails that it says will “shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy” while revealing “how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another.”
The web site, which obtains documents through anonymous leaking, says the files include intimate correspondence between senior Syrian Baath party figures and records of financial transfers between ministries in Syria and foreign institutions. It also includes information sourced from 680 entities and domains related to Syria, including the country’s Ministries of Culture, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Presidential Affairs and Transport.
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“The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement. “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.”
The release of the files comes just one day after Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov denied that Moscow has engaged in talks with Washington about offering exile to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. WikiLeaks’ trove of documents includes around 68,000 e-mails in Russian.
Combing through millions of E-mails takes time, and Wikileaks says it’s not yet verified every single message. However, all initial stories it will publish have been verified by WikiLeaks and the site’s co-publishers. According to the web site: “We are statistically confident that the vast majority of the date are what they purport to be.”
(VIDEO: Julian Assange talks to TIME)