Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar Assad at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Head of Russia's military intelligence service, Colonel-General Igor Sergun, was killed in January during a secret mission in the Lebanon's capital, Beirut, the Lebanese daily newspaper al-Akhbar reported Thursday.
The Kremlin announced the death of Sergun on January 4, saying that he died in Moscow after a heart attack. The military intelligence chief played a key role in the Russian seizure of Crimea in March 2014, and reportedly died three weeks after he was sent to Syria by Russian President Vladimir Putin to demand Syrian President Bashar Assad step aside.
However, according to a diplomatic source in London quoted by al-Akhbar, Sergun was killed in a complicated secret mission that several Arab and Middle Eastern intelligence agencies took part it.
The diplomatic source hinted that Turkey was involved in Sergun's assassination, and claimed that Ankara's involvement resulted in Russia's decision to confront Turkey, which increased tensions between the states on the Syrian front.