A newspaper in Russia has claimed that the deputy head of the country's powerful military intelligence agency was assassinated while in Syria. So far, the offical version of his mysterious death was that he died from a heart attack during a swimming accident.
Major-General Yuri Ivanov arrived early last month to Syria for an official visit. He disappeared on August 6. His body was found later near the Turkish shores. The Russian newspaper said the killers "tried to prevent the growing Russan influence in Syria". Ivanov was expected to inspect a vital Russian naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus which is being expanded and upgraded to service and refuel ships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet.
52-year-old Ivanov was deputy head of the GRU, the overseas intelligence gathering arm of the Russian military.