Muhammad Suleiman

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Muhammad Suleiman
محمد سليمان
Personal details
Born 1959
Died 1 August 2008 (aged 48-49)
Tartus, Syria
Nationality Syria
Occupation Security Adviser to the President
Religion Alawite
Military service
Rank General

Muhammad Suleiman (Also Mohammad Sulayman) (Arabic: محمد سليمان‎‎) (1959 – 1 August 2008) was a general and Special Presidential Advisor for Arms Procurement and Strategic Weapons[1] to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad.[2]

He was assassinated in his home in Syria by Israeli Shayetet 13 commandos on August 1, 2008.

Early life[edit]

Suleiman was born in 1959 to an Alawite family.


Suleiman had been a key aide to Bashar even before he assumed office, from the time he appeared as heir to succeed his father, Hafez al-Assad, as president.

He was also in charge of sensitive areas such as handling relations with the IAEA regarding the suspect Al Kibar facility, handled intelligence affairs for the president and was reportedly also in charge of arms transfers from Syria to Hizballah in neighboring Lebanon.[3]

Assassination and perpetrators[edit]

It was reported by Iranian media that Suleiman was shot by a silenced weapon in the head and neck on a beach at al Rimal al Zahabiyeh resort near Tartous on 1 August 2008.[4] According to the As-Safir newspaper, arrested Mossad spy Ali Jarrah "testified to have scouted 'certain points' in the coastal town of Tartous in northern Syria," where Suleiman was assassinated.[5] The Sunday Times reported that Suleiman was assassinated by Israel.[6]

Some reporters speculated that Suleiman had been killed at close range.[3][7]

A cable released by Wikileaks revealed that France told the U.S. that Suleiman was probably killed as a result of rivalry within the Syrian government. Maher al-Assad, brother of the Syrian president, was likely to have ordered the killing.[8] Furthermore, France said that Suleiman was not killed by a sniper, but in fact gunned down in his car.[8]

In a 2009 article regarding the destruction of Al Kibar, Der Spiegel gives a detailed description of Suleiman's murder as having taken place by rifle shots from a passing yacht and implies that it was linked to his involvement in Al Kibar and his upcoming visit to Tehran.[9]

In 2015, a National Security Agency document leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that Israeli naval commandos were indeed behind Suleiman's killing.[10]


Suleiman was buried on 3 August 2008.[4] Maher al-Assad participated in his funeral.[4]


According to a U.S. State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Syrian authorities found $80 million in cash in the basement of Suleiman's home. This reportedly upset President Assad, who launched an investigation into how Suleiman obtained that much money.[11]


  1. ^ "US embassy cables: US sought financial pressure on top Syrian officials". The Guardian. London. 20 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Vinsinfo. "The Media Line". The Media Line. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Blanford, Nicholas (7 August 2008). "The Mystery Behind a Syrian Murder". TIME. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Hugh Macleod; Ian Black (5 August 2008). "Top Assad aide assassinated at Syrian resort". The Guardian. Beirut. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Spy for Israel 'admits' scouting Mughniyeh hit site". The Daily Star. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Mahnaimi, Uzi (22 February 2009). "Defence chiefs urge hawk Netanyahu to strike deal with Syria". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Muhammad Suleiman Murdered". Joshua Landis. 4 August 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  8. ^ a b WikiLeaks: France Said Syrian General Killed in Regime Feud
  9. ^ "How Israel Destroyed Syria's Al Kibar Nuclear Reactor". Der Spiegel. 2 November 2009. 
  10. ^ "Israeli Special Forces Assassinated Senior Syrian Official". First Look. 15 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Corruption investigation rattles business community 'Israeli commandos' killed top Syrian official - leaked US files