[That’s the second Russian diplomat to turn-up dead around the Mediterranean lately. SEE: Top Russian Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament Expert Found Dead, Naked, Skull Crushed-In]
Gen. Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of GRU, the Russian military’s overseas intelligence arm of Russian military, was found dead in mysterious circumstances described in a terse official Russian eulogy on Aug. 30 as a tragic swimming accident “several days ago.” No further details were provided such as where he died.
DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report that Gen. Ivanov appears to have drowned in early August at the Syrian Mediterranean port town of Latakia. After he had been missing for ten days, his body was washed up on the shore of southern Turkey on Aug. 12.
Turkish sources revealed that his remains were recovered by Turkish fishermen from Cevlik village in the Hatay province near the Syrian border. According to unofficial sources, the body was too decomposed for identification. The Russian general was finally identified by the cross around its neck, but there was no word on the cause of his death.
DEBKAfile’s Middle East intelligence sources do not believe he accidentally drowned but find it more likely that was murdered and his body thrown into the sea. They say it is inconceivable that the deputy head of GRU would have gone swimming without bodyguards, especially at a Russian foreign base, and drowned without anyone noticing. Even if he did drown accidentally, his guards would not have rested until they recovered his body and not let drift for miles. Furthermore, Latakia is a summer resort frequented by high-ranking Syrian and Gulf emirate officials with their families. Its bathing beaches are well guarded by security personnel as well as professional life-savers, who would have been instantly alerted to any mishap in the water.
Our sources surmise that Gen. Yuri Ivanov went missing from a private, secretive engagement from which his aides and guards were banished to wait outside, not swimming alone in the sea of Latakia. This would account for the delay in reporting his disappearance.
They recall in this regard his former position as head of the North Caucasus branch of Russian military intelligence, which he held until late 2006. In this capacity he played a leading role in clandestine operations against al Qaeda and the Chechen revolt. Among the many terrorist groups present in Syria are al Qaeda cells from the Caucasian.
Fishermen found the body of the Russian diplomat on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Most likely the Russian diplomat drowned while on vacation in Syria.
He arrived in Syria as a tourist and entered the country with diplomatic passport. He is not the officer of Russian Embassy in Syria, spokesman for the Embassy Andrey Zaytsev told RIA Novosti.
Earlier media spread information on death of Russian diplomat Yuri Ivanov whose body was found by fishermen on the coast of Cevlik in the border province of Hatay five days ago.
Officials said they managed to identify the body with the assistance of both domestic and international authorities, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Russian diplomats in Syria who have drowned in the sea the bodies of 53-year-old Yuri Ivanov, was washed ashore on the coast of Samandag’s Çevlik.
The Russian diplomat’s corpse, the investigation was handed over to their relatives after arriving in Samandag.