Russia: Mossad, other foreign agents killed in Aleppo strike
Citing ‘battlefield sources,’ state media says its warships bombed 30 officers from Israel, Qatar and Western countries
BY JUDAH ARI GROSS September 22, 2016, 7:21 pm
Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel’s military correspondent.
Russian state media reported that Israeli Mossad agents and other foreign military officers were killed in Aleppo on Tuesday in a Russian missile strike.
According to the Arabic-language version of Russia’s Sputnik news agency, some “30 Israeli and Western officers” died when they were hit by three Kalibr cruise missiles fired by Russian warships in a “foreign officers’ coordination operations room” in western Aleppo, near Mount Simeon.
In addition to the Mossad agents, the Russian report claimed, military officials from the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Turkey — virtually every country hated by Iran, Syria and Russia — were killed in the strike, according to “battlefield sources.”
The foreign officers were “directing the terrorists’ attacks in Aleppo and Idlib,” the Iranian Fars news reported, referring to the rebel groups that control the Syrian cities.
The Israeli government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
More than 300,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict erupted in March 2011 with protests calling for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.
There was meant to be a halt to the fighting around Aleppo, beginning on September 13. Despite several alleged breaches, the truce had led to calm in the city, and last week, the Syrian army announced that it would observe a freeze on fighting until midnight on September 19.
Once the Arab country’s largest city, Aleppo has been a horrific battleground since 2012, divided between government- and rebel-held areas. Over the summer, the 250,000 people living in the opposition districts endured more than 40 days under complete blockade after government forces captured all roads out of the area.
Rebel reinforcements broke a hole in the blockade in August. But in heavy bombardment over the following weeks, more than 700 civilians were killed. Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes retook the roads and clamped the siege back on. Then the truce came into effect, sealing both sides’ positions in place.
News agencies contributed to this report.