WikiLeaks on Thursday began publishing more than two million emails from Syrian political figures which could shed light on a crackdown that has killed thousands.
The whistleblowing website said the first emails from Syrianpolitical figures, ministries and companies were from August 2006 and the final ones dated March 2012, a year after the current bloody uprising in Syria began.
"The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s external opponents," said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London seeking political asylum.
"It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts," he added in a written statement read out at a press conference in London.
"It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it."
The latest disclosures could illuminate the workings of the Syrian regime and its interactions with allies in the run-up to and during the 16-month conflict, which theSyrian Observatory for Human Rights says has claimed more than 16,500 lives.
The first wave of emails released Thursday claimed that Italian defence giant Finmeccanicacontinued to supply support for communications equipment to the Syrian regime after the unrest began in March last year.
The contract to supply the Syrian Wireless Organisation with high-tech radios made by Selex Elsag, a branch of Finmeccanica, dates to 2008, according to the emails published in Italy’s Espresso magazine and by Spanish website Publico.
But Selex continued supplying engineers and assistance on the radios until recently, said the publications, two of WikiLeaks’ media partners for the project it has dubbed "the Syria Files".