Syrian militants claim Russian general killing

MOSCOW.  August 8. KAZINFORM 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. Kazinform refers to RIA Novosti.

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.

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.

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.


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