Damascus, Oct 5 (EFE).- At least 80 people were killed and around 240 injured in an attack carried out by “terrorists” during the graduation ceremony at a military academy in Homs, western Syria, in one of the harshest blows against the army of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
“In a preliminary toll, the terrorist act that targeted the graduation ceremony of students at the Military College in Homs led to the death of 80 martyrs, including six children, and the number of injured was 240,” said the Syrian Health minister, Hasan al Ghabash, to official Syrian television, without further details.
The attack with explosives-laden drones on the military academy took place on Thursday afternoon after the parade and graduation ceremony of the officers had ended.
Relatives of the military personnel and representatives of the Syrian security forces were also present.
Among them was the Syrian Minister of Defense, Ali Mahmud Abbas, who attended the graduation ceremony but left about twenty minutes before the attack, official sources who asked not to be identified told EFE.
The incident occurred while the soldiers took photos and greeted each other on the field and in the bleachers.
An “unprecedented” ACT
The Syrian Defense Ministry blamed “terrorist organizations supported by well-known international parties” in a statement.
“There were dozens of wounded soldiers, with critical injuries among the invited families, including women and children, in addition to many college students participating in the graduation,” the ministry said in a statement. He added.
The command considers the attack “cowardly” and vowed to respond “with full force and determination, warning that those who planned and executed the attack “will pay dearly.”
The ministry did not name any group responsible for the attack, nor has any organization claimed responsibility.
The strike would be a clear development in the actions of insurgent groups, if they are responsible, as the factions have not previously launched assaults from their territory in Idlib province.
The Syrian government has been in complete control of Homs since 2014, when the insurgents withdrew from the center under a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement, as the city became a rebel fiefdom after widespread protests in 2011.
Retaliation already underway
After the attack, Syrian troops launched apparent retaliatory bombings against Idlib, killing at least eight people, including children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based NGO with a vast network of local collaborators.
It also said that thirty people were injured in the attacks on the main towns of Idlib province in northwestern Syria.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed deep concern over retaliatory bombings in different parts of Syria.
Meanwhile, the Syrian government declared three days of official mourning across the country starting Friday for the deaths of civilians and soldiers in the “terrorist” attack.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning this drone attack. This “heinous crime again shows the perpetrators’ persistence in the brutal and bloody terrorist approach that the Syrian people have suffered in recent years.” EFE