"In September 2012, a year and a half into the Syrian uprising, the opposition movement decided to help regime officials defect abroad, in hopes of accelerating the fall of President Bashar al-Assad. One such official was Anwar Raslan. He headed the investigations team of Branch 251, a notorious intelligence directorate prison on Baghdad Street in Damascus. It was one of the most feared addresses in the capital, run by a feared man. At capacity, it could detain and torture a hundred people at a time, but as the protests picked up, the number of prisoners reached four times that number, as the building became stuffed with political prisoners who were beaten unconscious, electrocuted, and hung by their wrists under Raslan’s command.And then, in 2013, the opposition received word Raslan wanted to defect. He was an important enough target for the opposition that they dispatched one of their own to pretend to be Raslan’s driver and escort him through Damascus, a city lined with soldiers, to rebel-held eastern Ghouta. Within days, he was smuggled to neighboring Jordan. There, he joined the opposition.
Over the next two years, Raslan ingratiated himself with several opposition leaders and in 2014 even got a ticket to represent the rebellion in Geneva at U.N.-organized peace talks. The about-face paid off when he flew to Germany in the summer that year and sought asylum. He successfully settled with his family in northeast Berlin and started afresh, without anyone mentioning the torture chamber he once oversaw. Branch 251, and the screams of thousands of people brought there, seemed to have faded away."