WikiLeaks: France Doubted Israeli Role in Syrian General’s Assassination

French government believes assassination of General Muhammad Suleiman was an inside job that occurred in 'classic mafia fashion', believes President Assad directly behind the killing.

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The French government believed in August 2008, just weeks after the assassination of Syrian General Muhammad Suleiman, that the perpetrator behind the assassination was not Israel, as many previously assumed, but rather a rival within the Syrian leadership, the WikiLeaks site revealed.

According to a cable from the American Embassy in Paris, adviser on Middle East affairs, Boris Boillon to French President Nicholas Sarkozy rebuffed the notion that Israel was “behind Suleiman’s assassination”, and strongly rejected the theory that an Israeli sniper shot him from a boat “right outside the city of Tartus”.

In this picture taken on June 13, 2000, Syrian President Bashar Assad stands with his brother Maher during the funeral of late president Hafez al-Assad in Damascus, Syria. Credit: AP

Boillon further stated that according to the information they have, the assassination was an inside job that occurred in “classic mafia fashion”.

The cable revealed that diplomats from the American Embassy in Paris met with Boillon on August 20, 2008. During the meeting, Boillon stated that according to information obtained by the French government, the Syrian police stopped traffic near the general’s house, his body guards disappeared, and an assassin shot him in the head from close range.

The French government believes that the reason behind the assassination was an internal rivalry within Syrian President Bashar Assad’s entourage. Boillon stated that there is good reason that the man behind the killing is the president’s brother, Maher Assad, and that Bashar Assad himself gave the order to assassinate to get rid of those who “know too much”.

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