German authorities have issued arrest warrant for the chief of Syria's Air Force Intelligence, Jamil Hassan. German Prosecutor’s Office accuses Hassan of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Spiegel newspaper calls the military commander one of the closest associates of the President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian activist Anwar al-Bunni worked with Germany's chief federal prosecutor, Peter Frank, to compile the criminal case, using interviews with Syrians, some of whom now live in Germany.
Thousands of images smuggled out of Syria by a former photographer at a regime torture centre are part of the criminal complaint.
Al-Bunni said that the arrest warrant for Hassan is just the beginning of the criminal prosecutions of Assad allies.
"This is a victory for justice. It is a victory for the German justice system. This is also a victory for Syrians, whose faith in justice will be restored. We can only hope that the next arrest warrant is for Assad," said Al-Bunni.
Hassan has been the head of the Air Force Intelligence since 2009, the most feared arm of the regime's brutal apparatus of control.