From The New York Post:
Syria springs bin Laden terror pal to get back at US
January 31, 2012
DAMASCUS, Syria -- A top al Qaeda figure and one-time confidant of the late Osama bin Laden was apparently released by Syrian authorities in retaliation for Washington's position against the government of Bashar al Assad.
Spanish national Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, ranked number four within the terror organization, and another terrorist, Abu Khalid, were freed in late December, The (London) Times reported Tuesday.
Reports of Nasar's release were first revealed on Sooryoon.net, a website of Syria's opposition in London, and later confirmed by the Spanish daily El Pais.
Nasar, 53, is Syrian by birth and acquired Spanish nationality via marriage. He was last seen in Pakistan in 2005 before he reportedly was captured by Pakistani forces and handed over to US authorities.
Under the CIA's secret "extraordinary rendition" program, in which terror suspects were moved to a different country where they faced torture for information, Nasar was believed to have been transported to Syria, the newspaper reported.
Nasar is linked to several deadly terror attacks -- including the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, which resulted in 192 people dead, and the 1985 attack on a Madrid restaurant that killed 18 people, mostly Americans.
Nasar, who ran terror training camps in Afghanistan, had been a close ally of bin Laden, but the two fell out over al Qaeda's close ties to the Taliban.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Assad's rule erupted in March last year. The UN said earlier this month that it stopped compiling a death toll due to the difficulty of obtaining information inside the country.