World Bulletin / News Desk
A Syrian rebel group said on Wednesday it had killed a Russian general working as an adviser to Syria's ministry of defence in an operation in the western Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
A video statement from a group calling itself the "Hawks Special Operations Battalion ... a division of the Military Leadership of Damascus City and Province" gave the name of the general as Vladimir Petrovich Kochyev. The video, sent to Reuters, showed what the rebels said was a copy of his ID issued by the Syrian military.
There was no immediate comment from the Russian authorities.
"With the help of God, the Russian adviser for the minister of defence for military scientific affairs, General Vladimir Petrovich Kochyev, has been eliminated with his personal translator, Ahmad a-Ayyouq," Lieutenant Majid Sayyed Ahmad of the Hawks battalion said in the video.
"A number of Syrian army documents have been also seized, together with reports about the opposition and the Free Syrian Army, adding to the achievements on the road to the liberation of Syria from the Assad gang," said Ahmad, who gave his title as "commander of operations and special assignments".
The statement did not say when Kochyev was assassinated, but a senior opposition figure in contact with the group, who did not want to be named, said he was killed about two weeks ago.
He described Hawks battalion as a professional unit led by officers who had defected from the Syrian army.
The same group claimed responsibility for the assassination of four of President Bashar al-Assad's top lieutenants in Damascus last month.
Among the documents the video showed was a letter by the Syrian chief of staff, Fahed al-Freij, who is also the defence minister, asking the head of the Russian military advisers in Syria to extend Kochyev's term as adviser.
The video also showed a photo of Kochyev and another Russian officer in military uniforms posing with Freij. Its authenticity could not be independently verified.
Russia, which has an estimated several hundred military personnel in Syria, is one of the few countries still backing Assad diplomatically since a popular uprising against his rule erupted 17 months ago.
Brigadier General Jamil Zeidan died in hospital after unidentified assailants shot him in Ain El-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
Moldova, an ex-Soviet republic wedged between Ukraine and Romania, with a population of about 4 million, is planning to sign a landmark trade deal with the European Union
Working conditions in the $22 billion industry have been under scrutiny since the April, 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in which more than 1,100 workers were killed
About 150 people marched from Sofia University to the parliament building in downtown Sofia and submitted more than 560,000 signatures to parliament calling for the referendum
Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham had conveyed an official warning to the Austrian embassy in Tehran over the "unplanned meeting," IRNA said, without elaborating.
Attiyah said one of Qatar's basic foreign policy principles was its support for popular aspirations to justice and freedom in the Arab world.
Brigadier-General John Shapland, chief defence attache for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, raised the idea of extending Israel's anti-missile umbrella in comments to a security conference in the city
South Africa will hold general elections on May 7, new political players are expected to make gains
The planned bridge is expected to be operational within 48 months at a cost of $728 million.
Maher, Adel and Douma had been among the young activists who spearheaded Egypt's January 2011 revolution, which ended autocratic president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule
In late January, al-Bashir presented his government partners with a proposed reform plan
Refat Chubarov asks for U.S. cooperation amid 'humanitarian and social catastrophe' in Ukraine
Khodorkovsky told university students in Kiev that giving the region the kind of autonomy from Ukraine that Scotland has inside the British state could ease Crimean demands for union with Russia
Nazarbayev, whose Central Asian state has the second largest post-Soviet economy, is a close ally of Putin and backs his plan for integration of old Soviet republics
Russian forces consolidated their hold on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula on Monday, taking over a military hospital and a missile base as officials geared up for a referendum on the region's future
Swiss officials widened their measures to include Yanukovich's son, also called Viktor, and Oleksii Azarov, son of the former prime minister, Mykola Azarov