Known Also As: Al-Milhem, Kifah; Melhem, Kifah; Milhem, Kifah; Moulhim, Kifah; Mulhem, Kifah; Mulhim, Kifah;
DOB: 28 Nov 1961;
POB: Junayrat Ruslan, Tartous, Syria;
Previous service positions:
1- Head of the Security Committee in the Southern region (2018)
2- Head of the Information Branch at the military Intelligence Department (2015)
3- Deputy Chief of the Military Intelligence Department (2014)
4- Head of the Military Intelligence Branch in Latakia (2012)
5- Head of the Military Intelligence Branch in Aleppo (2012)
6- Head of the Military Investigation Brance (2008)
7- Military Intelligence Department (2006)
8- The Republican Guards
Syrian Military Intelligence head Kifah Moulhem reportedly oversaw detention facilities where human rights abuses occurred. Prior to being named to his current role, Moulhem commanded Syrian Military Intelligence Branch 248, where he reportedly supervised the torture and killing of many detainees. On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of State designated Moulhem pursuant to E.O. 13894 for being complicit in, having directly or indirectly engaged in, or attempted to engage in, or financed, the obstruction, disruption, or prevention of a ceasefire in northern Syria;
Major-General Kifah al-Milhem was born in Jneinet Raslan, Tartous, into an Alawite family. He was recruited into the Republican Guard where he served under Bassel al-Assad, serving as a channel of communication between him and former Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Zoubi. When Bassel Assad was killed in a car accident, Milhem was transferred to the Military Intelligence Directorate where he became the head of the Military Investigation Branch (Branch 248).
In March 2011, Milhem participated in the suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Damascus and its countryside, commandeering the forces of Branch 248 as it carried out a series of human rights violations against civilians. Branch 248 became renowned within the Syrian security apparatus for its brutality. Military intelligence directorates in other provinces were known to regularly transfer their detainees to Branch 248 for investigation.
Melhem is the prime individual responsible for the violations committed in Branch 248 through 2011 and 2012.
As Aleppo’s security situation deteriorated in 2012, Milhem, then a brigadier-general, was appointed to head the city’s Military Security Branch where he continued to carry out criminal violations. During this time, Milhem was one of the senior-most supervisors of the local Shabiha paramilitaries. He was directly involved in recruitment operations, and ordered units to carry out kidnappings and the subsequent extortion of victims’ families for ransom money. The kidnappings proved a lucrative source of revenue that was shared between Milhem and Shabiha militants.
Milhem also supervised the killings and tortures carried out at the Aleppo Military Intelligence branch (Branch 290), where personnel are reported to have committed serious violations on detainees. A July 2012 report by Human Rights Watch documented the testimonies of detainees who were subjected to human rights violations in Military Intelligence branches, including in facilities commanded at the time by Brigadier-General Milhem.
At the end of 2012, Milhem was transferred to the coastal city of Lattakia to serve as head of the local Military Intelligence branch. Here he was involved in the recruitment of Shabiha personnel and ordering the militias to carry out crimes on behalf of the Military Intelligence Directorate, including kidnapping and libel in collaboration with the late Hilal al-Assad, who is said to have held detainees in the Lattakia Sports City complex. Milhem also took part in the Assad regime’s military operations in the northern countryside of Lattakia, where he, together with other regime officers, were responsible for the violations and crimes committed in the Kurd Mountains and Turkmen Mountain in the northern Lattakia countryside.
Milhem was appointed head of the information branch in the Military Intelligence Directorate in 2014, and in July of the following year he was promoted to the rank of Major-General and appointed as deputy-chief of the Military Intelligence Directorate, serving under Major-General Muhammad Mahmud Mahalla. In this capacity, Milhem oversaw a number of military operations in the villages of Hama, Homs and Aleppo. Along with Major-General Mahalla, Milhem is responsible for violations committed by the Military Intelligence Directorate during his tenor. In July 2018, he was appointed head of the security committee in the southern region, which includes the provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida.
Milhem appears on British, EU and Canadian sanctions lists for his role in numerous criminal violations against the Syrian people.
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