Recently assassinated Muhammed Suleiman had been the Syrian leader in charge of supplying anti-aircraft missiles to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Suleiman was Bashar al-Assad’s personal mentor. He was shot in the head while sitting in his garden. According to Times of London Sources, Suleiman was killed by Israel to send a message to the Syrian regime that they better stop giving arms to Hezbollah… AND NOW:

Slain Syrian aide supplied missiles to Hezbollah

Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv

A KEY aide to the Syrian president who was assassinated last weekend in mysterious circumstances had been supplying Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, with advanced Syrian SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles, according to Middle Eastern sources. Once operative, the mobile missiles will threaten the dominance of the Israeli air force over Lebanon. The assassinated aide, Brigadier-General Muhammad Suleiman, 49, was “more important than anyone else”, wrote the London-based Saudi paper Al-Sharq al-Awsat last week: “He was senior even to the defense minister. He knew everything.” He was killed by a single shot to the head as he sat in the garden of his summer house near the northern port city of Tartus. Nobody heard the shot, which appears to have been fired from a speedboat by a sniper, possibly equipped with a silencer. The expertise required to execute such a long-distance sniper murder has led suspicion to fall upon the Israelis. Suleiman had been President Bashar al-Assad’s personal mentor since 1994, after the death of the president’s brother Basel in a car accident. Assad later appointed Suleiman as his operations officer and made him responsible for protecting the regime. If Syria has passed Russian-made SA-8 mobile launchers to Hezbollah, the Shi’ite militia that came close to defeating the Israeli army two years ago, it is in possession of a potent weapon to defy Israeli air power. Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, recently warned that Hezbollah was straining his country’s patience in Lebanon. Hezbollah announced last week its next military step would be “to stop Israeli fighter planes flying over our land”. Despite the risk of jeopardising peace negotiations between the two countries, the attack appears to have been intended as a warning to the Syrian regime. According to Israeli sources, during Assad’s visit to Paris last month Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, asked President Nicolas Sarkozy to tell Assad that he was “crossing a red line supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon”. Last week the Israeli defence cabinet was presented with an intelligence report on Syria’s arms supplies to Hezbollah.