It marked one of the most brutal assaults ever witnessed on a Syrian military facility, showcasing the unprecedented use of weaponized drones in a nation grappling with 12 years of relentless civil strife.

Tragically, more than 100 lives were lost, and over 120 individuals sustained injuries during an attack on a military academy in Syria. This devastating incident unfolded shortly after Syria’s defense minister had concluded a graduation ceremony, when weaponized drones unleashed their assault.

This event stands out as one of the deadliest attacks ever targeting a Syrian military installation, with the added distinction of being the first of its kind to employ weaponized drones in a country that has endured over a decade of unrelenting civil conflict.

Among the victims of this devastating attack on the military academy, situated in Syria’s central province of Homs, were both civilians and military personnel. The Syrian defense ministry attributed the attack to “terrorist” groups utilizing drones as their means of aggression. However, the statement did not specify a particular organization, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.

In response to the attack, Syria’s defense and foreign ministries pledged a retaliatory response “with full force.” Throughout the day, Syrian government forces conducted heavy bombing raids on the opposition-held zone of Idlib.

During the graduation ceremony, Syria’s defense minister had been in attendance but left just moments before the attack, according to sources in Syrian security and the regional alliance supporting the Damascus government against opposition factions.

One eyewitness described the horrifying scene, stating, “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.” Disturbing footage shared through WhatsApp depicted individuals, some in military attire and others in civilian clothing, lying in pools of blood within a vast courtyard. The scene was chaotic, with some bodies still smoldering and others on fire. Amidst the chaos, someone could be heard urgently pleading to “put him out!” The background was punctuated by the sound of gunfire, although Reuters was unable to authenticate the footage.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that over 100 individuals lost their lives, with 125 others suffering injuries. An official within the alliance supporting Syria’s government estimated the toll at approximately 100 casualties.

Syria’s Health Minister, Hassan Al-Ghobash, provided a lower death count but confirmed that around 80 individuals had been killed, including six women and six children. He also stated that roughly 240 people had been injured.

Syria’s conflict initially began in 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad but rapidly escalated into a full-scale war, resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties and the displacement of millions. The Syrian army has been severely depleted by the prolonged conflict and has heavily relied on military assistance from Russia, Iran, and Tehran-backed fighters from Lebanon, Iraq, and other nations.

While President Assad has reclaimed control over most of the country, a portion along the northern border with Turkey remains under the control of armed opposition groups, including hardline jihadist factions.

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