Syrian Opposition Sources: Russian Colonel Killed By Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) In Northwest Syria

May 29, 2023

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On May 26, 2023, pro-Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) Telegram channels reported that HTS operatives fired rockets and mortars at the “operations command center” of the Syrian Armed Forces in the village of Al-Jubb Al-Ahmar, north of Latakia. The report was accompanied by a short video clip described as including “exclusive” footage of smoke rising above the command center that was allegedly attacked.[1]

On May 28, 2023, Syrian rebel Telegram channels reported, based on Russian media, that Russian officer Colonel Oleg Viktorovich Pechevisty, a commander of Special Forces in Syria, was killed on the night between May 25-26 in an HTS attack in Al-Jubb Al-Ahmar.

The Telegram channels posted the same photograph of the officer that appeared in the Russian media, and claimed that a Syrian officer with the rank of lieutenant[2] was also killed in the attack. According to the Russian sources Pechevisty, born in 1973 in Podporozhye district, Leningrad Oblast, and a veteran of military operations in the Chechen Republic, South Ossetia, was stationed in Syria in December 2022. The same sources provided the photograph and described his death as the greatest loss the Russians have suffered in Syria since 2016.[3]

This is not the first time that Russian officers have been hurt in Syria as the result of rebel military activity. For example, in June 2022 a captain in Russian Intelligence was reportedly killed in Syria;[4] in August 2020 a Russian officer was reportedly killed in an exchange of fire north of Latakia with the Al-Fath Al-Mubin operations room, which comprises HTS and other rebel factions;[5] and in February 2020 there was a report about the death of a Russian major general at the Khmeimim Airbase in Syria.[6]

Furthermore, in September 2020 the official media outlet of HTS, Ebaa News Agency, reported that a Russian soldier and six members of the "Russian occupation militias" were killed, and several others were wounded after straying into a minefield planted by the mujahideen near Kafr Nubl in the southern countryside of Idlib.[7]

It is notable that additional groups, including Islamic State (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, and other jihadi factions have claimed responsibility for attacks on Russian forces in Syria between 2020 and 2021.[8]



[1] See for example:, May 26, 2023; and Al-Askary, May 26, 2023.

[2] See for example:, May 28, 2023; Al-Harbi, May 28, 2023; and, May 26, 2023.

[3], May 27, 2023.

[4] Telegram, June 21, 2022.

[5] Telegram, August 6, 2020.

[6] Telegram, February 14, 2020.

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