A senior Syrian officer, in charge of Syrian President Bashar Assad's liaison with the Hezbollah guerilla group, was shot dead in mysterious circumstances in northern Syria last week, Arab media reports said on Sunday.
Pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper, quoting "well-informed" sources in London, said the officer had been found dead on Friday night-Saturday morning. It said the officer had been in charge of "sensitive files" and was close to the Syrian leadership.
Lebanon's Future News television station identified the officer as Brigadier General Mohammad Suleiman whom it said was a military aide to Assad. It said his body was found at a hotel in the northern port city of Tartous.
According to the Syrian newspaper Albawaba, the sources told another Arabic-language newspaper, the London-based Al-Hayat, that Syrian authorities have been trying to prevent the publication of the news regarding Suleiman's assassination.
The Syrian Web site "Free Syria", affiliated with Syrian opposition leader Abd al-Halim Khaddam, also dealt extensively with the assassination, and described Suleiman as Assad's right-hand man on military matters. According to the Web site, Suleiman was also a member of Syria's Baath Party, and held the government's Lebanon portfolio.
Albawaba stated that no organization has claimed responsibility for the killing as of yet and the reports did not say who was behind it.
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