Syria confirms assassination of top military officer

Syria's government confirmed the assassination of a senior military officer last week believed to have been a close aide to President Bashar Assad.

Syria confirms assassination of top military officer
The confirmation by presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban was the first official comment by Syria on the assassination of Brig. Gen. Mohammed Suleiman, which was was widely reported in the Arab media this week.

Syria restricts its media and rarely comments on security matters.

Shaaban told reporters Wednesday that investigations were under way but did not elaborate.

Arab media and a Syrian opposition Web site said on Monday that Suleiman was killed by a sniper on a yacht at a beach resort in the northern port city of Tartous Friday night.

President brother Maher al-Assad, head of the Republican Guards, and other senior officers were at Suleiman's funeral in the town of Dreikish, east of Tartous.

The presence of Maher al-Assad, one of the most powerful figures in Syria, indicated Suleiman's pivotal role in the Syrian hierarchy and the high regard he enjoyed among members of the ruling class.

The sources said Suleiman was also involved in efforts to upgrade Syria's military readiness. Bashar al-Assad said in a letter to the army this week that Syria must not shy away from improving its arsenal. "This is earth-shattering. Since when do we hear of assassinations taking place like this in Syria? Suleiman was privy to many things," one of the sources told Reuters.

Syrian Albawaba reported yesterday Suleiman also served as Syria's liaison officer to Lebanon's Hizbullah movement."

Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2008, 08:50
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