In the strife-ridden northwest of Syria, a tragic incident unfolded as shelling by the Syrian army claimed the lives of an elderly woman and four of her children, as reported by rescue workers and a monitoring organization on Thursday. Simultaneously, an attack targeted a military academy, resulting in the loss of at least 60 lives. According to a war monitor and a security source, weaponized drones struck the site shortly after the conclusion of a graduation ceremony attended by Syria’s defence minister.
Syria army shelling kills five civilians: sources
Syrian army shelling killed an elderly woman and four of her children in the war-torn country’s northwest, rescue workers and a monitor said on Thursday, Arab News reported.
The overnight bombardment targeted their house in Kfar Nuran, close to the front line in the last rebel stronghold in the western province of Aleppo.
“An elderly woman and four of her children were killed in shelling by regime forces on the outskirts of Kfar Nuran,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
The White Helmets rescue group also said a house was hit, killing “five civilians from the same family, including three women,” and wounding another woman.
The group, which operates in rebel-held parts of Syria, said they were a family who had been displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country.
The bodies of the woman and her adult children, two daughters and two sons, were wrapped in white shrouds and taken to a location near the town of Atareb, an AFP correspondent said.
More than four million people live in rebel-held parts of northern and northwestern Syria.
The area targeted is close to the front line between government forces and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a jihadist group that is led by the former Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.
The HTS controls the last pocket of armed opposition in northeastern Syria, including a large part of Idlib province and land bordering the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia.
At least 60 killed in drone attack on Syrian military academy
At least 60 people were killed on Thursday in an attack on a military academy in Syria, a war monitor and a security source said, with weaponized drones bombing the site minutes after Syria’s defence minister left a graduation ceremony there.
According to Reuters, civilians and military personnel were killed in the attack on the military academy in the central province of Homs, Syria’s defence ministry said in a statement, adding “terrorist” groups had used drones to carry it out.
The statement did not specify an organization and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Syria’s defence minister attended the graduation ceremony but left minutes before the attack, according to a Syrian security source and a security source in the regional alliance backing the Damascus government against opposition groups.
“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,” said a Syrian man who had helped set up decorations at the academy for the occasion.
Footage shared with Reuters through the messaging app WhatsApp showed people – some in fatigues and others in civilian clothes – lying in pools of blood in a large courtyard.
Some of the bodies were smouldering and others were still on fire. Amid the screaming, someone could be heard shouting “put him out!” A spray of gunfire could be heard in the background.
The Observatory said at least 78 people had been killed and more than 140 wounded. The source in the alliance backing Syria’s government said the toll was 66.
US jet shoots down Turkish drone in Syria, officials say
Reuters reports that the United States on Thursday shot down an armed Turkish drone that was operating near its troops in Syria, U.S. official said, the first time Washington said it brought down an aircraft of NATO ally Turkey.
A Turkish defence ministry official said the drone shot down by the U.S.-led coalition did not belong to the Turkish armed forces but did not say whose property it was.
Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a F-16 shot down the Turkish drone after the United States called Turkish military officials multiple times to warn them they were operating close to U.S. ground forces.
The official said the Turkish drone was believed to be armed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a local security source said the U.S.-led coalition had shot down a Turkish drone near a base in northeastern Syria.
U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish forces said Turkish attacks had killed eight people in an escalation prompted by a bomb attack in Ankara claimed by Kurdish militants.
U.S. support for Kurdish forces in northern Syria has long caused tension with NATO ally Turkey, which views them as a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). That group claimed Sunday’s attack in Ankara near government buildings.
Syrian regime used Damascus hospital to torture, kill opponents
Syrian regime forces have used a Damascus hospital to torture and kill opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, a new investigation has found, The New Arab reported.
The investigation, led by ITV News, revealed how the regime continues to exploit the special protection status of Tishreen Hospital in northern Damascus to abuse and murder imprisoned opponents since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011.
A number of sources were cited in the investigation, including former inmates, regime defectors, activists, and intelligence officials.
The investigation detailed how doctors and nurses were complicit in torture at the hospital, which was described by one former inmate, who used the pseudonym, Adam, as “a slaughterhouse”,
Adam told ITV News that a doctor at the hospital told him “You will be dead in a few days” before stabbing him in the chest.
Another former detainee, Mohammed Medlej, spoke of how he witnessed six people being executed in front of him. He had to remove the bodies and pile them up.
The hospital was specifically chosen at the time because it was next to one of the largest mortuary refrigerators in the country, with a number of other burial sites including one in a nearby quarry and another in the Baghdad bridge area 10 miles away.
Activists have stated that the site is still in active use, with satellite images revealing open pits made available for burials. According to the investigation, satellite imagery shows that construction on burial plots began in early 2014.
The regime has regularly utilized hospitals as part of its campaign of repression since the beginning of the war.
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.