A drone attack struck a military academy graduation ceremony in the western city of Homs, Syria. This merciless act of violence has killed no less than 89 individuals, including ladies and kids. The incident happened on October 5, 2023, marking one of the deadliest single attacks in Syria in recent years.
The drone attack was carried out on a day meant for celebration, a graduation ceremony attended by young cadets and their families.
Women and children were among the victims, further underscoring the brutality of the attack. The UK-based monitoring group reported even higher casualties, with 116 people losing their lives.
The Syrian armed force, in its immediate response, blamed the attack on “terrorist groups backed by known international forces.” However, as of now, no group has claimed responsibility for this heinous act.
The repercussions of the attack is completely alarming. Syria’s state news agency, Sana, reported that the drones, laden with explosives, struck just after the afternoon graduation ceremony had concluded. The General Command of the Armed Forces termed this act as “an unprecedented criminal one.”
The health ministry disclosed that 31 women and five children were among the deceased, and a staggering 277 individuals sustained injuries.
One witness, who had assisted set up decorations at the ceremony site, described the chaotic scene: “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.”
A graphic video of the repercussions circulated online, displaying the grim reality of the situation. The footage showed dozens of casualties and their relatives screaming for help within a large, walled parade ground, accompanied by the sound of gunfire in the background.
This tragic incident is a painful reminder of the long-standing Syrian civil war, which has endured for more than 10 years.
The conflict ejected in 2011 when President Bashar al-Assad’s government violently cracked down on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.
Since then, more than half a million lives have been lost, and the country has been left in ruins. Millions of Syrians have been internally displaced or forced to seek refuge abroad. The world has over and again called for an end to the bloodshed, but the situation remains dire.
The UN’s special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, described the attack as “horrific” and emphasized the need for all parties involved to “exercise the utmost restraint.” He stressed that respecting international law and protecting civilians must be a priority.
Right after this misfortune, the Syrian government has promised to answer “with full force and determination” to the “terrorist groups” responsible for the drone attack.
Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas, who had attended the graduation ceremony but left just minutes before the attack, asserted, “We will go after them and after those who support them. We will avenge the blood of martyrs and clean Syria’s soil from terrorists and criminals.”
Syria has declared a three-day state of mourning, during which flags will fly at half-mast. The country mourns not only the lives lost but also the profound impact this attack has had on its collective psyche.
While the Homs drone attack is a tragic episode, it is sadly not an isolated incident in Syria’s protracted conflict.
The war has witnessed numerous acts of violence, ranging from bombings and airstrikes to ground battles. Various armed groups and international actors have been involved, each pursuing their own objectives.
In a separate development on the same day as the drone attack, Turkish drone strikes in a Kurdish-controlled region of northeastern Syria claimed the lives of at least 10 people.
These strikes were reportedly in response to a bomb attack in Ankara claimed by Kurdish militants, illustrating the interconnectedness of conflicts in the region.