Large crowds in attendance at the graduation ceremony at Homs Military Academy in Syria prior to the drone attack that had resulted in dozens of casualties.

Drone attack on Syria military college leaves dozens of casualties

By Hamdi Alkhshali, CNN

(CNN) — Drones laden with explosives hit a military college graduation ceremony in Syria’s western city of Homs on Wednesday, leading to dozens of causalities, Syria’s defense ministry said in a statement.

“There were dozens of wounded soldiers, with critical injuries among the invited families, including women and children, in addition to a number of college students participating in the graduation,” the statement said, adding that the drones struck immediately after the ceremony ended.

The defense ministry blamed “terrorist organizations supported by well-known international parties.” No group has claimed responsibility yet.

The Syrian armed forces said the attack was “unprecedented,” and vowed to respond “with full force and determination, warning that those who planned and executed the attack “will pay dearly.”

The ancient city of Homs, once known as the capital of the Syrian revolution, was the site of intense battles between regime forces and opposition fighters seeking to unseat President Bashar Al Assad in 2012. The city fell to the regime in 2014, when rebels left it after a two-year siege by the regime.

Located in the agricultural heartland of central Syria, the city had long been a transport and commercial hub of vital strategic importance.

The road through Homs connects the capital, Damascus, in the south to Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, in the north.

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