A devastating drone strike at a military college in Syria has resulted in the loss of more than 100 lives
On Thursday, a military academy in Syria came under attack, resulting in a death toll of approximately 100 people, as reported by a war monitoring group and an official. This attack involved weaponized drones that targeted the location shortly after Syria’s defense minister had departed from a graduation ceremony held there.
In a country that has been enduring a 12-year-long civil war, the use of weaponized drones in this manner was unprecedented, marking it as one of the deadliest assaults ever on a Syrian army facility.
The victims of this attack in the central province of Homs included both civilians and military personnel, according to Syria’s defense ministry. The ministry attributed the use of drones to “terrorist” groups, but did not specify a particular organization, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.
In the aftermath of the drone attack on Thursday, Syrian government forces conducted heavy bombing raids on the opposition-controlled area of Idlib throughout the day. Syria’s defense and foreign ministries pledged a robust response.
Notably, Syria’s defense minister had been present at the graduation ceremony but left just moments before the attack occurred, as per information from a Syrian security source and a source in the regional alliance supporting the Damascus government against opposition forces.
A witness who had been involved in setting up decorations at the academy for the event described the scene, saying, “After the ceremony, people went down to the courtyard, and the explosives hit. We don’t know where it came from, and corpses littered the ground.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a death toll of over 100 people and 125 injured, while an official from the alliance supporting Syria’s government estimated the toll to be around 100.
Syria’s Health Minister, Hassan Al-Ghobash, provided a lower death count, stating on state TV that 80 people had been killed, including six women and six children, but noted that approximately 240 people had been injured.
Syria’s conflict originated in protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 but escalated into a full-scale war, resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions of displaced individuals.
Throughout the conflict, the Syrian army has been significantly affected, relying heavily on military support from Russia and Iran, as well as fighters backed by Tehran from Lebanon, Iraq, and other nations.
While President Assad has reclaimed control over most of the country, a portion of the north near the Turkish border remains under the control of armed opposition groups, including extremist jihadist factions.