About 1,000 relatives and villagers walked behind the coffin, draped in a Syrian flag, in the village of Bhamra where black banners hung from some buildings, witnesses said.

Mr Kanaan was buried at a family cemetery.

Mr Kanaan reportedly killed himself yesterday according to officials, three weeks after he was questioned by UN investigators probing the assassination of Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Forensic tests

Damascus Attorney-General Mohammed al-Loji said forensic examination and a search of his office concluded that Mr Kanaan shot himself in the mouth with his revolver.

He said Mr Kanaan’s assistant heard a faint shot and called the office manager who entered to find him lying on the floor behind his desk, still breathing, with his pistol in his hand.

The 63-year-old major-general died in hospital.

Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara, speaking to reporters from a Damascus hospital from where Mr Kanaan’s body was taken for burial, said a “media smear campaign”, not the government, pushed Mr Kanaan over the edge.

“When the media uses words, it’s like using bullets,” he said, hinting at an anti-Syrian campaign by Lebanese media.

UN investigation

The death of Mr Kanaan, Syria’s top official in neighbouring Lebanon for 20 years until 2002, occurred just over a week before UN investigators are due to present their findings on Mr Hariri’s killing in a truck bomb blast in Beirut in February.

Already under pressure from the United States, which accuses it of allowing fighters to enter Iraq, Syria has grown increasingly nervous over Lebanese and international charges that it is linked to Mr Hariri’s death.

President Bashar al-Assad said in a CNN interview conducted shortly before the apparent suicide that Syria was not involved in Mr Hariri’s death and that he could never have ordered it.

However, if the United Nations concluded Syrians were involved, they would be “traitors” who would face an international court or the Syrian judicial process, he added.

An ambulance adorned with flowers had taken Mr Kanaan’s body from the Shami hospital in Damascus to his birthplace of Bhamra, in northern Syria.

Senior military and security officials, with Prime Minister Naji al-Otari and Mr Shara, paid their respects before the body left in a convoy of cars for its final resting place.

In Muslim tradition, suicide victims get low-key funerals.

Lebanese media blamed

Many of the villagers at the funeral blamed the Lebanese media or his death, saying a smear campaign against him led to his suicide.

“We blame the Lebanese press for his death. They exerted moral pressure on him,” said Marina Rashed, a relative.

About an hour before he died, Mr Kanaan called Voice of Lebanon radio apparently to give his last testimony.

He denied a news report that he had shown investigators photocopies of cheques signed to him by Mr Hariri and defending Syria’s role in Lebanon, where it kept troops for 29 years until April.

Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi Aridi rebuffed the charges, saying Lebanon was a country where the media was free.

“This continued accusation of the Lebanese media … is something we cannot accept,” he told reporters in Beirut.

Strong ties to Lebanon

But at Mr Kanaan’s grave it was difficult to miss the strong ties that once linked Mr Kanaan to Lebanon.

On his tombstone there were medals he had received from the
Lebanese army, witnesses said.

An old rifle that had insignia showing it was a gift from the Hizbollah guerrilla group was also placed there.

The village of about 2,000 inhabitants lies in the mountain heartland of the Alawite sect, 330km from Damascus, and four kilometres from Qordaha, home town of the ruling Assad family.

Syria was the main power broker in Lebanon after the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

It was forced to relinquish its grip amid an international and local uproar over Hariri’s killing.

  • Posted on 10. January 2019
  • Written by admin
  • Categories: 苏州美甲
Comments Off on Gazi Kanaan laid to rest

Comments are closed.