The opposition movement Free Syria was the first to report the
assassination of Suleiman. On Aug. 2, Free Syria said Suleiman was killed by
an unidentified sniper along the Tartous beach late the previous night.
On Aug. 3, the London-based Al Hayat reported the death of an
unidentified senior army officer close to Bashar. The newspaper said the
with "sensitive files."
As liasion to Hizbullah, Suleiman was said to have facilitated arms
shipments from Iran to Lebanon. Suleiman, trained in the former Soviet Union
in weapons development, was also said to have been Assad's leading military
adviser on Lebanon as well as Syrian military modernization.
On Aug. 4, the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat quoted a Syrian source that
confirmed Suleiman's death. The source said the killing marked a harsh blow
to the Assad regime. For his part, Assad has been meeting Iranian leaders in
Opposition sources said the Assad regime was trying to suppress news of
the assassination. They said the general was buried on Aug. 3 in his
Suleiman, sought by the United Nations in the investigation of the
assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has long been
associated with the Assad regime. He was said to have been close to Bashar's
brother, Basel, killed in a mysterious car crash in 1994. Basel had been
regarded as the successor to his father, the late President Hafez Assad, who
died in 2000.