Syrian Rebels Claim Killing Russian General Aiding Assad

World | August 8, 2012, Wednesday // 11:02|  views

A video grab made from a handout video made available by Shaam News Network on 22 July 2012 shows allegedly members of the Free Syrian Army fighting in Homs, Syria, 22 July 2012. EPA/BGNES

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has claimed responsibility for killing a Russian general who was allegedly working as a consultant for the Syrian defense minister, in an announcement broadcast by Al Arabiya TV on Wednesday.

There was no independent confirmation of the death of General Vladmir Kojaiv, though Al Arabiya showed what the FSA claimed was his identity card with a photo, RIA Novosti reported.

The rebel army said the killing of Kojaiv and his private translator, Ahmed Aiq, was evidence Russia was embroiled in the Syrian crisis.

"We warn all the snakes to go back to their dens whether it is Russia, Iran and Iraq or Lebanon," an FSA officer said in a video broadcast on Al Arabiya.

The rebel army also alleged that it had seized a number of documents and maps about the opposition.

A Russian Defense Ministry source on Wednesday said there are were no generals with such a surname in the Russian Army.

"There are no generals with the surname Kojaiv or any other similar surnames in the Russian Army," the source said, but admitted the man might have been a "military retiree" or a member of the army of one of the former member-states of the USSR who are often incorrectly called "Russians."

The former Soviet Union, and subsequently Russia, have long supplied military equipment to Syria, and the Damascus regime has often employed Russian military advisers, RIA Novosti reminds, adding that Russia, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon's Hezbollah have long opposed foreign intervention in Syria and the toppling of President Bashar al-Assad. Russia and China have vetoed UN Security Council resolutions aimed against Assad's regime.

For almost 1.5 years Syria has been in a state of civil war as a popular movement has risen up against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of the Arab Spring revolutions.

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Tags: Bashar Al-Assad, Syrian president, Syrian opposition, Syria, Syrians, dictatorship, civil war, arab spring, Syrian rebels, Free Syrian Army, Russia, Vladmir Kojaiv, USSR


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