Drone Strike Targets Syrian Military College, Resulting in a Minimum of 89 Fatalities and Numerous Injuries
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Drone Strike Targets Syrian Military College, Resulting in a Minimum of 89 Fatalities and Numerous Injuries

The death toll from the drone attack, which targeted a military college graduation ceremony in the western Syrian city of Homs, has climbed to 89 as of early Friday, with nearly 300 individuals sustaining injuries.

Five children and 31 women were among the dead, Syria’s state-run news agency SANA reported.

No group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack. In an earlier statement, the defense ministry blamed “terrorist organizations supported by well known international parties.”

“There were dozens of wounded soldiers, with critical injuries among the invited families, including women and children, in addition to a number of college students participating in the graduation,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Syrian armed forces said the attack was “unprecedented,” and vowed to respond “with full force and determination, warning that those who planned and executed the attack “will pay dearly.”

The ancient city of Homs, once known as the capital of the Syrian revolution, was the site of intense battles between regime forces and opposition fighters seeking to unseat President Bashar Al Assad in 2012. The city fell to the regime in 2014, when rebels left it after a two-year siege.

Located in the agricultural heartland of central Syria, the city had long been a transport and commercial hub of vital strategic importance. The road through Homs connects the capital, Damascus, in the south, to Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, in the north.

On Thursday, civil defense group the White Helmets, comprised of nearly 3,000 volunteers working to save lives in Syria, said the Syrian regime forces launched “systematic” attacks on civilians in northwestern Syria, killing at least 12 people and injuring 49.

Among the 49 injured civilians were 12 children and 11 women, according to the group.

Syria has been carrying out airstrikes routinely in the area against what the country calls terrorists.

Heavy artillery shells and rocket launchers were unleashed upon more than 15 cities, towns, and villages across Idlib and the Aleppo countryside in northwest Syria. Notably, markets, schools, public facilities, and humanitarian workers were targeted in these attacks, the White Helmets said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the group reported airstrikes targeting a school in Sarmeen city in the eastern countryside of Idlib, resulting in the death of one child and injuries to six civilians, including three girls – with one being an infant – and two women.

Drone Strike Targets Syrian Military College, Resulting in a Minimum of 89 Fatalities and Numerous Injuries

Northwest Syria has witnessed its third consecutive day of deadly bombardment, according to the White Helmets.

Meanwhile, at least 11 people were killed on the other side of the country Thursday by Turkish airstrikes targeting Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria, according to a statement by Kurdish security forces in the region.

“The Turkish state launched on Thursday a series of attacks on our regions with more than 15 drones penetrating the airspace of northeastern Syria, and again targeted many positions, infrastructure, service facilities, and gas and oil stations, resulting in death and injuries. Its aggression also affected areas populated by civilians,” said Asayish, the Kurdish internal security force.

In response to a fatal bombing in the Turkish capital on Sunday, Turkey’s military has initiated a series of airstrikes targeting Kurdish positions in both Syria and Iraq. The responsibility for the Ankara attack has been claimed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organization that has waged a prolonged insurgency against the Turkish government and is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

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