Syrian student officers carry the coffins of their comrades who were killed on Thursday in a drone attack that hit a military graduation ceremony, during a mass funeral procession in Homs, Syria (Abdelrahman Shaheen/AP/PA)

Funerals held in Syria for dozens of victims of attack on military ceremony

ALBERT AJI AND BASSEM MROUE, ASSOCIATED PRESS |

Family members of some of the victims of a deadly drone attack on a crowded military graduation ceremony gathered outside a military hospital in the city of Homs on Friday to collect the bodies of their loved ones.

Thursday’s strike on the Homs Military Academy killed 89 people, including 31 women and five children, and wounded as many as 277, according to the health ministry.

The death toll could rise as some of the wounded are in a critical condition.

Syria announced a three-day state of mourning starting on Friday.

The attack is likely to lead to a renewed wave of violence in the country’s opposition-held northwest, where front lines have been relatively calm since Russia and Turkey, who support rival sides in the country’s conflict, reached a ceasefire in March 2020, ending a three-month Russian-backed government offensive against insurgents.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack as Syria endures its 13th year of conflict that has killed half a million people.

In the aftermath, Syrian government forces intensified their shelling and airstrikes on rebel-held regions and insurgents fired back towards areas held by President Bashar Assad’s forces.

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