Germany's investigative police force (Bundeskriminalamt) have arrested two alleged former employees of the Syrian secret service in Germany for suspected crimes against humanity while working for the intelligence service in Syria.
Federal prosecutors said the two men, who can not be named for legal reasons, were arrested by federal police in Berlin and Rhineland-Palatinate state. They both left Syria in 2012.

Prosecutors said that a 56-year-old high-ranking member of Syria's General Intelligence Service is accused of participating in the abuse of detainees at a prison he oversaw in Damascus.

As lead investigator, the man allegedly ordered the use of systematic and brutal torture on anti-government activists between the end of April 2011 and the beginning of September 2012.

Prosecutors said the second man, aged 42, was part of a unit that arrested hundreds of activists and brought them to the prison run by the other suspect.

Between the beginning of July 2011 and mid-January 2012, he is suspected of helping to kill two people and torture and physically abuse at least 2,000 people.

Prosecutors said the Syrian regime has been using brutal force to suppress all opposition activities critical of the government throughout the country since April 2011, and the Syrian secret services played an essential role.