At least 100 Syrians were killed in a drone attack on a ceremony at a military college this Thursday, resulting in a declared three days of national mourning. This attack represents one of the largest attacks on the country’s military installations – in terms of casualties – in history. On the same day, perhaps coincidentally, the Pentagon affirmed that their own fighter jet had for the first time downed a drone belonging to NATO ally Turkey.
At a military college in Homs, where hundreds of Syrians had gathered for an induction ceremony, explosions reportedly caused by a drone attack killed roughly 100 and injured as many as 240. The attack is the bloodiest at a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) army instillation, since the beginning of the 12-year war began in 2011. The videos that emerged in the aftermath of the attack show both children and women injured and dead, as a result of the drone strikes. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the terrorist bombardment and the Damascus government announced that it would respond “with full force“, while declaring three days of mourning.
Soon after the attack, which had occurred shortly after the departure of Syria’s Defense Minister from the ceremony, the SAA began firing hundreds of munitions at targets in the Idlib Governorate. Idlib is largely controlled by the Al-Qaeda offshoot known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), with other smaller Takfiri groups controlling smaller pockets in the Idlib area. Warehouses and the headquarters belonging to HTS were directly targeted by Syrian artillery fire, as Jisr as-Shughur, Jabal al-Zawiya, and various other areas in between were also bombarded. The Turkestan Islamic Party, comprised of Uyghur terrorists, was also struck hard, along with smaller Al-Qaeda linked groups. According to Al-Mayadeen News, Syrian military sources indicated that the Turkestan Islamic Party has received drone technology and hence there was a large focus on striking targets belonging to this extremist group.
Idlib is “the largest al-Qaeda safe haven” since #September11 “The approach by some of our partners to send in 10,000s of tons of weapons..may not have been the best approach” – Brett McGurk, Joe Biden’s current National Security Council coordinator for MENA  #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/nN804kZExH
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 10, 2021
Turkish Strikes On Kurdish Militants
On the same day that the horrifying drone strikes massacred Syrian soldiers and civilians in Homs, the Turkish armed forces also began launching drone and artillery attacks on positions belonging to Kurdish militant groups in North Eastern Syria and North Western Iraq. Amidst the bombardment of positions belonging to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — which operate as a US proxy to maintain the occupation of a third of Syrian territory — the US military deployed F-16 fighter jets.
According to Pentagon spokesman, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Turkish armed forces had conducted strikes against Kurdish groups in the Hasakah area, within 1 kilometer of American forces stationed nearby, that prompted the US to take precautionary measures. After repeated warnings were allegedly made towards a Turkish UAV, the US decided to relocate its armed forces to bunkers and shoot down the drone with an F-16 fighter jet.
This was the most serious encounter between forces belonging Turkey and the United States, since 2019 when US forces reportedly came under fire from Turkish held positions during that year’s incursion into North Eastern Syria, aimed at creating a buffer zone between the Kurdish-led SDF and the Turkish border. Ultimately the US ended up withdrawing its forces and abandoning its Kurdish proxy at the time, before returning to the territory once Turkey had established its buffer-zone inside North Eastern Syria; that was put under the control of the Syrian National Army (SNA), a force created by Turkey that used former Al-Qaeda linked fighters from the ‘Free Syria Army’. The encounter this Thursday was followed by a call that was labelled “fruitful“, between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Turkish counterpart.
The Turkish military, contrary to the claims made by the Pentagon, asserted that the UAV shot down by the US Air Force was not one of their own, but refused to provide any details on who the drone belonged to. The drone allegedly came within 0.3 miles of US forces stationed in the area, triggering the American response….