DAMASCUS (Agencies): A drone attack struck a military academy in Homs province in central Syria during a graduation ceremony, resulting in over 100 casualties. The victims included both civilians and military personnel, and some of the wounded were reported to be in critical condition, including women and children.
The Syrian Defense Ministry labeled the attackers as “terrorist” groups using drones to carry out the strike. The military stated that it would respond with “full force and decisiveness” against these terrorist organizations. However, the government did not specify a particular group responsible for the attack.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a death toll of 112, including 21 civilians (11 of them women and girls), with at least 120 people wounded. Meanwhile, the country’s Health Minister, Hassan Al-Ghobash, stated that the “preliminary” toll was 80 dead, including six women and six children, and approximately 240 wounded.
The attackers reportedly used explosive-laden drones, and the government declared three days of mourning following the incident.
In retaliation, government forces launched heavy bombardments in the rebel-held Idlib region, causing additional casualties and injuries. The Idlib region is partially controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, an extremist group with ties to Al-Qaeda.
The attack is a grim reminder of the ongoing violence and instability in Syria, which has been plagued by a decade-long civil war involving various armed groups, international actors, and ongoing tensions between the government and opposition forces.
In response to the drone attack, the United Nations expressed deep concern, and the UN special envoy for Syria called for an immediate de-escalation of violence and the pursuit of a nationwide ceasefire.
The incident highlights the volatile and complex situation in Syria, with various actors vying for control and influence, and the civilian population often caught in the crossfire.