Errant Russia airstrike kills Hezbollah fighters: report

Al-Rai said that seven militants from the Lebanese group were killed in the friendly fire incident.

Russian Sukhoi jet at the Hmeimim airbase. (AFP/Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda)

BEIRUT – A Russian airstrike has mistakenly killed a number of Hezbollah members in Syria, according to a Kuwaiti daily with close access to Moscow’s aerial campaign in the war-torn country.


Al-Rai on Friday morning cited a military source with “good knowledge of the Syrian battlefronts” as saying that the Russian air force accidently killed seven Hezbollah fighters.


“Members of Hezbollah stationed at a combat position in Syria were surprised by the low flight of Russian planes above their position,” the source told the newspaper’s chief international correspondent, Elijah J. Magnier.  


“This was followed by concentrated bombing that caused at least seven deaths,” the source added, without detailing where incident took place.


Al-Rai’s Magnier has written a number of articles in recent weeks on Russia’s bombardment campaign in Syria, claiming access to sources in both the Baghdad and Damascus operation rooms for the “4+1” military coalition of Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah.


On October 27, the journalist wrote a detailed report based on sources in Latakia’s Hmeimim Airbase detailing the technical aspects of Moscow’s air sorties, saying that experts were analyzing the raids to determine their effectiveness and precision as well as the skills of pilots.


The friendly fire incident involving Hezbollah fighters comes after Russian airstrikes north of Homs in mid-October mistakenly hit regime forces conducting a major offensive against rebels, according to activists.


Alaraby Aljadeed on October 15 cited an opposition media activist as saying that Russian warplanes had “accidentally bombed a number of regime positions.”


Ahmad al-Daheek told the London-based daily that the mistakenly bombed sites include the “Aatoun checkpoint, the Mulouk base, the Military College in Al-Waer, a gathering of [militiamen] near the Al-Kamm junction and the area around the Division 26 [base] to the south of Teir Maalah, as well as a regime column near the [town’s] grain silos.”


The media activist claimed that the strikes caused regime fatalities, but added that the precise figure remains unknown “as all of the areas are military [zones] under [regime] control.”


Pro-rebel Al-Souria Net went into details on the purported Russian airstrikes on Syrian regime positions, reporting that the bombing of the Mulouk checkpoint “caused the death of two colonels and six privates.”


However, the pro-regime Central Region News Network-Homs outlet denied these reports, likening their claims to the sound made by crows.


“Rumors being disseminated by the local croaking committees that Russian planes have targeted our army’s positions are completely untrue,” read a post on the pro-regime Facebook page.

Russian Sukhoi jet at the Hmeimim airbase. (AFP/Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda)

Members of Hezbollah stationed at a combat position in Syria were surprised by the low flight of Russian planes above their position.

  • SaEFan

    To Hanibaal-Atheos (interesting name: Beloved of God - Atheist; hmmm). Re your email, the accusation of cabal is not a necessity in this case, as each of the entities you mention has narrow interests some of which overlap the others' , You are incorrect also at the technical level , since it takes huge amounts of training to fly warjets, thus such cooperation as you allude to, is out of the question. More likely, the Russians are using this opportunity to provide their flyboys with field experience against people they care nothing about in the first place. As for the Israelis, they seem to be going all out at not betting involved directly, merely reducing munitions flow to 'Hizballah on the one hand, and providing medical help to anyone from any side that requests it and crosses into Israel held territories. Israel is as usual being the Good Samaritan and not getting any recognition for it (also as usual).

    November 3, 2015

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Thank you for your pompous display of etymology. My comment, by the way, is, strictly speaking, not an email. You say that the narrow interests of the entities overlap to some degree, which means you essentially agree with me, albeit differing in a manner of degree. The fact is none of the parties has gone all the way in Syria; this tells me that no one really is desperate for a solution because 1- Either the stakes are not threshold-crossing for anyone in Syria, or 2- They all benefit from the disintegration of Syria. I believe both of these options obtain here, since there are definite advantages (which I outlined in my "email") while the risks appear tolerable as long as there is coordination between the parties. Which brings me to your comment on technical cooperation: Didn't the Americans and the Russians yesterday conduct joint maneuvers over Syria just yesterday? Didn't the Russians and the Israelis exchange visits at the onset of the Russian intervention? Didn't Hassan Nasrallah for the first time in decades appear "in the flesh" to deliver one of his venomous speeches at Ashoura last week, apparently unfazed by a potential Israeli attempt against his life? He must have gotten some reassurances. Finally, please spare everyone the bigoted good Samaritan analogy with the Israelis, doubled - as usual - by the pedestrian attempt at investing for profit in guilt-infliction on others. Israelis as do-good-ers! Hahahaha...You, in your apparent pontifical knowledge, should know, perhaps, that the Good Samaritan was not Jewish.

    November 5, 2015

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    The Russian-American-Zionist conspiracy is unfolding before our eyes, and the dumb Arabs, believe it or not, take sides: pro- or anti-Assad, pro- or anti-Shiite or Sunni, pro-Iran vs. Saudi Arabia. It is more than likely that many of the Russians flying the jets and on the ground in Syria are Sunnis, Jews, or Orthodox Christians with no sympathy whatsoever for either the Sunni radicals of Daesh or the Shiite fanatics of Hezbollah. Yes, Russia appears to want to keep Assad in power as long as it can, but deep down, Russia and America (and Israel naturally) are on the same wavelength: Let the Syrian war go on and on indefinitely and let Syria remain the crucible where Muslim fundamentalists of all brands come to die, and from which the brain drain to workforce-starved Europe continues. Assad is a straw man and his fate is merely a pretext issue to keep Syria indefinitely on fire. Watch the comedy in Vienna; it is but one act in what promises to be a very very long play.

    October 31, 2015

  • SaEFan

    see my comment

    November 3, 2015