Syrian source says regime in bad condition
- Syrian source says regime in bad conditionDamascus official tells London-based newspaper 'mystery man' assassinated over weekend was in charge of all of country's sensitive security issues
Published: 08.04.08, 12:49 / Israel NewsMohammed Suleiman was stronger than Syria's defense minister, a Syrian source said Monday of the assassinated officer who was considered President Bashar Assad's right hand.
The source told the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat that "there is no doubt the Syrian regime in a bad and complicated condition."According to the source, before becoming the president's "mystery man", Suleiman was very close to Bashar Assad's brother, Bassel, who was slated to become Syria's president but was killed in a road accident in 1994.
Suleiman, a member of the Alawites sect, was responsible for all of Syria's sensitive security issues, and every such issue would be run through him before reaching Assad's bureau.
The Syrian source ruled out the possibility that Suleiman was assassinated on the backdrop of political aspirations, due to the fact that he had more strength than any other politician.
According to the source, Suleiman was responsible for more issues than the Syrian defense minister and army chief. Various reports have claimed that Suleiman was in charge of the Syrian nuclear program.
'He knew everything'"There is no doubt that the Syrian regime is in a bad and complex situation. There is no doubt that Muhammed Suleiman was one of the closest people to President Bashar Assad and his right hand in the armed forces.
"He knew everything, and all issues were open to him, including the security, economic and armament issues," the source stated.
"Suleiman's status exceeded his military rank, and therefore he had no political aspirations. His status was even more important than that of the defense minister.
"In the meantime, however, it is hard to determine the reasons behind the assassination. We must wait three or four more days for things to become clear, particularly when we are talking about an accurate assassination which was carried out by a sniper firing from the sea."
The Syrian source did not say whether Suleiman, who was in his 40s, had direct ties to Hizbullah.
"He was responsible for all the issues related to the armed forces and the Baath party (the Syrian ruling party). All the reports regarding the Baath party released by the Syrian army went through his office and were presented to Assad by him," the source noted.