NSA report: Israel assassinated Syrian military official

Leaked US intelligence report reveals Israeli special forces responsible for assassination of Syrian Brig. Gen. Mohammad Suleiman in 2008

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Evidence from an internal National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked on Wednesday night showed information claiming that Israeli special forces are behind the assassination of the Syrian military official, General Mohammad Suleiman, who was a close advisor to President Bashar al Assad.

The Brig. Gen. Suleiman was shot dead by a silent bullet fired by a sniper on the sea coast near the port of Tartus in 2008.

The Intercept site had published the document that was placed in a spreadsheet relating to the National Security Council confirmed a telegram that was sent to Damascus by the US embassy.

According to the document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden "The assassination of Syrian Brigadier General Mohammad Suleiman by the Israeli navy special forces near Tartous was the first assassination of its kind in which Israel targeted a legitimate government official."

The document bearing the label (SI) was referring to US intelligence book classification as a "technical and intelligence information derived from the monitoring and interception of foreign communications."

Israel has never commented publicly on the suspicions raised about their involvement in the assassination, but newly revealed secret US intelligence documents state that Israeli special forces killed the slain general.

Citing the document, the Intercept reported that Intellipedia, a top-secret entry in the NSA’s internal version of Wikipedia, described the assassination by “Israeli naval commandos” near Tartus as the “first known instance of Israel targeting a legitimate [Syrian] government official.”

The US embassy in Damascus reported at the time that Israel was the most likely suspect of such assassination, unlike the Iranian media which went public with that accusation immediately.

The Arab media had said at the time that Suleiman was killed by gunshots fired by a sniper being hit in the head and neck, and that the sniper was riding a yacht moored in the sea.

Some sources said that Suleiman was the most prominent security official in Syrian President Bashar al Assad's government, while Israeli and Syrian opposition sources said he was the link between the Syrian government and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

A secret US government document several months earlier stated his precise job description as “Syrian special presidential adviser for arms procurement and strategic weapons.”

It was said at the time that President Assad was "shocked " to discover the $80 million in cash found in Suleiman’s house.

A telegram sent by the US embassy after the assassination of Suleiman had stated that Suleiman had “a very close relationship” with the president.

In addition, Suleiman had managed “special programs for the president of which not known for the Syrian military command.”  

Also that "the obvious suspects are the Israelis," and that "the Syrian intelligence services is well aware that the coastal city of Tartous allow the Israelis to work more freely from internal sites unlike the capital Damascus”.

The assassination of Suleiman came after less than six months of the assassination of of Hezbollah's military leader Imad Mughniyeh in the heart of Damascus, in which now is believed that the Israeli intelligence service "Mossad" and the CIA, cooperated in the assassination.

TRTWorld and agencies