At least 100 killed in drone attack on Syrian military academy, monitor reports

A military academy in Syria witnessed a devastating attack on Thursday, resulting in the loss of at least 100 lives, as reported by both a war monitor and an official as quoted by Reuters.

Weaponized drones struck the site just moments after Syria’s defense minister had departed from a graduation ceremony, Reuters reportd.

This attack ranks among the deadliest assaults ever directed at a Syrian army facility, marking a significant departure by employing weaponized drones in a nation enduring 12 years of civil conflict.

The casualties from the strike at the military academy in Syria’s central Homs province included both civilians and military personnel, according to the statement released by Syria’s defense ministry.

The statement attributed the attack to “terrorist” groups but did not specify any particular organization, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.

According to Retures report, Syria’s defense and foreign ministries have vowed to respond “with full force.” Simultaneously, Syrian government forces carried out extensive bombing operations in the opposition-controlled area of Idlib throughout the day.

The Syrian defense minister had been present at the graduation ceremony but departed just minutes before the attack occurred, according to sources within the Syrian security apparatus and the regional alliance supporting the Damascus government against opposition factions.

An eyewitness who had participated in decorating the academy for the event recounted, “After the ceremony, people gathered in the courtyard when the explosives struck. The source of the attack remains unknown, and the ground was strewn with lifeless bodies.”

Some of the victims were found still smoldering while others remained on fire. In the midst of the chaos, shouts of “put him out!” pierced the air, accompanied by the sound of gunfire in the background. Reuters could not independently verify the footage.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a death toll of over 100 individuals, with 125 others sustaining injuries. An official within the alliance supporting Syria’s government estimated the toll at approximately 100.

Health Minister Hassan Al-Ghobash provided a lower casualty count, stating on state television that 80 people had lost their lives, including six women and six children. He added that approximately 240 people had been wounded.

The Syrian conflict initially began with protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 but quickly escalated into a full-scale war, resulting in hundreds of thousands of fatalities and the displacement of millions.

The Syrian armed forces have been significantly depleted by the protracted conflict, relying heavily on military assistance from Russia, Iran, and Tehran-backed militias hailing from Lebanon, Iraq, and other nations.

While President Assad has reclaimed control over the majority of the country, a northern border region adjacent to Turkey remains under the control of armed opposition groups, including radical jihadist fighters.