Syria squashes coup attempt: German newspaperJune 7th, 2008 - 12:27 pm ICT by IANS
Berlin, June 7 (DPA) A coup plot against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was quietly crushed without the world noticing, the German newspaper Die Welt said, quoting German and “foreign” intelligence sources. The newspaper said some of the plotters were allegedly linked to violent Islamist groups.
It said Syria’s military intelligence chief, Assef Shaukat, had plotted to seize power while Assad was hosting an Arab League meeting in Damascus in February. Shaukat, who is an in-law to the president, and 100 intelligence officers had been arrested.
Die Welt said Assad had been tipped off by Imad Mughniyah, a senior member of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization in Lebanon. Mughniyah was killed a few days later in a bomb blast Feb 12 in Damascus.
The sources said it was possible that associates of Shaukat had assassinated him in revenge.
Die Welt said the Syrian embassy in Berlin had rejected the coup story as utterly untrue. Without naming a source, the newspaper said German diplomats were aware of the coup story but had not been able to confirm it.
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