Syrian Opposition Celebrates Killing: ‘Putin Is Paying The Price’

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated by an armed gunman in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Monday

Turkish Police near where the Russian Ambassador was shot — REUTERS
Dec 19, 2016 at 1:42 PM ET

Hundreds of Syrians affiliated with the opposition — along with others from the Arab world — are celebrating the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey by an armed gunman in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Russia’s Ambassador Andrey Karlov was giving a speech when a man dressed in a suit opened fire, shooting at least eight times and shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Karlov was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead soon after the attack. The gunman, who has not been identified, was reportedly killed by police. Three other people were injured in the attack, according to a Turkish TV station.

Many on social media in Syria praised the Turkish assailant who shouted that the shooting was “revenge for Syria and Aleppo” and threatened more attacks “against everyone who has killed Syrians.” Bassam Jaara, a prominent Syrian opposition figure, glorified the assassination in a series of tweets, writing “Putin received today a holiday present from Turkey … We said that the wildfire will not end in Syria. The criminal Putin is paying the price.”

Turkey and Russia have supported opposite sides of the conflict in Syria — the Russian government supporting the government of Bashar al-Assad and Turkey providing support to the rebels. Assad’s government quickly denounced the attack. “Syria condemns the terrorist attack which claimed the life of the Russian ambassador in Ankara,” a Syrian government official said in a statement Monday, offering “condolences to Russia, as government and people, and to the family of the victim.”

Other influential accounts associated with the Syrian opposition praised the attacker “who took revenge for our people against the killers, took revenge for Aleppo against its rapers.” One praised “the martyrdom of the hero,” hoping that “everyone who killed Syrians will pay the price.”

Syrian rebel forces suffered a major blow last week at the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies. The opposition effectively lost control of the city of Aleppo, which for four years has been the the rebels’ capital in the country’s bloody civil war.