An Islamist militant group in Syria called Ahrar al-Sham claims to have killed “dozens of Russian generals” with a car bomb attack in Latakia on Sunday afternoon.
The attack hit a military base described as “one of the most important military centers of the Russian forces on the Syrian coast” by the Jerusalem Post.
The Post notes Arhar al-Sham, which claimed the attack was a joint operation with another jihadi group known as Bayan, declared its responsibility just two days before the scheduled beginning of a Russian-U.S. ceasefire in Syria. The ceasefire already excluded ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front; the JPost wonders if Ahrar al-Sham might have just bought themselves an exception as well.
“After weeks of hard intelligence work we were able to determine the location and time of the meeting and planted the car in the location. After the explosion several ambulances and Russian choppers rushed to the location and they were seen evacuating deaths and wounded Russians to Latakia and Jableh hospitals,” said the statement from the Islamist militants, as quoted by International Business Times.
Turkish Weekly reports the militants said they delayed announcing the Sunday terror attack until Wednesday to “ensure that the jihadists who committed the attack returned safely to opposition territories.”
IBT said it could not verify the militants’ claims, while Middle East Monitor says there has been no comment from either the Kremlin or the Syrian government. It seems likely that the claim of killing “dozens of generals” is an exaggeration, but it is possible the jihadis are using “generals” as a generic term for officers.