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Aleppo: Did Russia Loyalists Attack the Qaterji Group?

An explosion at offices belonging to the Qaterji Group in Aleppo killed a number of people and caused damage to the surrounding area reports Al-Modon.
Aleppo: Did Russia Loyalists Attack the Qaterji Group?

Pro-regime media outlets said that the armed opposition used rockets and artillery to strike the commercial district in al-Jamelaiah in central Aleppo, killing more than seven people and setting fires in the areas that were struck.

An opposition military source speaking to Al-Modon denied that the opposition had struck the al-Jamelaiah district and the heart of the city with heavy weapons. According to the source, a bombardment by the opposition was concentrated in the western Aleppo countryside, striking militia positions in al-Rashideen, the environs of the Military Academy, and the Iranian military base and Iranian observation point. Opposition bombardments also focused, according to the source, on Republican Guard positions in the Zahraa Association area and the northern suburbs—but it had not struck civilians in residential areas as the regime claimed.

The supposed bombardment on the al-Jamelaiah district seemed unclear in the one video taken from a relative distance from the site. The targeted location were the offices on the first floor of a commercial building, including apartments that were not damage, which contradicts the theory that these were rocket strikes.

It appears from the limited effects and fire that the cause of the blast was a car bomb or explosive device. Sources told Al-Modon that the blast resulted from a high-impact explosive device, which hit an office of the Qaterji Group in Aleppo. The operation killed Saad Qaterji, head of the protection militia of the Qaterji Group in northern Syria. According to the sources, commanders of the militia and officials in the Qaterji Group were killed including Youssef Farwati and Lieutenant Maurice Khaddour.

Al-Modon’s sources said that regime militias had prevented civilians from getting near the site of the blast and that they had encircled it entirely, and that the wounded were taken to a nearby hospital.

The sources said that it was likely the blast was a measure by businessmen loyal to Russian militias, with the attack part of the Iranian-Russian competition in Aleppo through proxies who are manufacturers and traders loyal to each side.

The Qaterji Group controls a large part of commercial and industrial work in Aleppo, with its projects expanding greatly over the last two years, given its proximity with the Iranian regime’s militias. Qaterji has naturally expanded at the expense of traditional businessmen and manufacturers in Aleppo, who see his group as a threat to their interests. For the most part they are loyal to the chamber of commerce headed by Fares al-Shihabi, who is close to Russian militias.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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