A billing document dated Oct. 19, 2011, broke the equipment down, listing more than 11,000 walkie-talkies, 3,500 mobile radio units for use in vehicles, 1,600 radio dispatch consoles, 1,400 motorcycle-mounted units, 60 marine units for use on sea, and 30 avionic transceivers for use in helicopters.
Several lawyers and activists said the shipments likely weren't in breach of EU sanctions, first imposed on Syria back in May of 2011 and repeatedly strengthened since.
Zia Ullah, a London-based attorney with Pannone LLP, said he believed the shipments were on the right side of the law, adding that conflicts like the one in Syria put economy-conscious Europeans in a tricky spot.
"To the extent that equipment is being used or supplied to the Syrian regime, is that politically what the EU wants to see?" he said. "On the other hand, for many of these companies, it's a lifeline commercially, particularly in countries like Greece and Italy."
But Matthew Parish, a Geneva-based attorney with U.K. law firm Holman Fenwick Willan LLP, said that the vagueness of EU sanctions law meant that the situation was "very arguable either way."
"Given the ambiguity of the language in the EU decisions, I think what you can say that what they did in the past is borderline," he said.
Borderline cases have received an increasing amount of attention as pro-democracy uprisings in the Arab world have torn the lid off the machinery of state surveillance. Last year The Wall Street Journal revealed that Syrian officials were using Internet filtering devices made by California's Blue Coat Systems Inc. In November Bloomberg reported that Italian company Area S.p.A. had been using U.S. technology to equip Damascus with a powerful mass surveillance network. Blue Coat has said it didn't know its technology was bound for Syria; Area has said it's considering how to pull out of its contract.
Schaake, the parliamentarian, said she thought those companies were just the tip of the iceberg.
"There are far more companies whose name we don't know," she said.
Intracom and Selex's work in Syria has continued until recently. On Dec. 29, 2011, Intracom's Ilias Moschonas wrote to his team to say that there were still problems with the TETRA network and that engineers might be needed to provide on-the-job training in basic repairs and other skills in Damascus early in the new year.
Around the same time, Intracom's Nakoul described a trip to provide tech support at a petroleum facility near the Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, a trip he did not seem eager to repeat.
"Deir alzor is not calm city (armed people everywhere) and my opinion is to have a clear solution for this case before we go over there again," he warned his colleagues.
On Feb. 2, 2012, Moschonas wrote again to inform his colleagues that Selex engineers would be in Damascus that month to deliver equipment needed to fix Syria's helicopter transceivers and train local employees on how to make repairs.
The leaked emails don't go further than March 2012, so it's not clear whether the engineers ever made it to the Syrian capital.
It's also unclear whether Intracom or Selex's work in the country continued beyond that date, although draft warranty documents circulated by Shoorbajee and others envisioned both companies acting in tandem to provide tech support, software updates, and repairs.
Moschonas did not return emails seeking comment and neither Intracom nor Selex have said whether they were still replacing damaged parts, uploading new software, or helping fix faulty equipment.
Nakoul denied that he or his company had taken sides in the conflict gripping Syria, saying that he'd already received death threats from rebel sympathizers after WikiLeaks published his email address.
"We are just technical people," he said. "We are just working on a project.
"We are not on any side."