Russia says general killed in Syria held senior post in Assad’s army

Mourners gather around the grave of Russian Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov who was killed by Daesh shelling near Deir Ezzor during his funeral ceremony at a military cemetery outside Moscow. (Reuters)
Updated 28 September 2017

Russia says general killed in Syria held senior post in Assad’s army

MOSCOW: A Russian general killed in Syria had been seconded to the Syrian regime as a military commander, Russia’s military chief of staff said on Wednesday.
Moscow has long been a staunch ally of Syria, but the role of the deceased general reveals the extent to which Russia has become an integral part of President Bashar Assad’s ruling system.
Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov, 51, was killed on Saturday by shelling from Daesh positions near Deir Ezzor. He was the chief of staff of Russian forces deployed to the country and later became the commander of Syria’s Fifth Corps of volunteers, chief of general staff Valery Gerasimov said.
It was known that the Syrian Fifth Attack Troop Corps of volunteers, formed in late 2016, was equipped and advised by the Russians, but Damascus and Moscow had not previously announced it was under Russian command.
Speaking at Asapov’s funeral, Gerasimov said: “High prestige combined with care were outstanding features of his work.
“Of course, those qualities were displayed during his working trip to the Syrian Arab Republic, where he had been deployed from February this year,” Gerasimov said, addressing Asapov’s family and colleagues.
“He worked as the chief of staff of the group of our forces and then was in command of the Fifth Corps of volunteers ... A treacherous shell cut short his life.”
A security specialist, who worked in Syria alongside the Russian and Syrian military, said Asapov was de facto the commander of Syria’s Fifth Corps but he may have been listed as chief military adviser on paper.
“Syrian officers relied completely on our officers,” he said.
Hundreds of people, most of them from the Russian military, attended the funeral at the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery for Asapov who became the highest-ranking military officer to be killed in the Syrian war.
Inscriptions in Russian and Arabic on some of garlands said they were sent by President Assad, Syrian ministers and military commanders.


UAE in seeks to boost its high-tech military industry

Updated 45 min 13 sec ago

UAE in seeks to boost its high-tech military industry

  • The UAE is reshaping a military industry already seen as the region’s most sophisticated
  • The UAE’s defence industry dates back two decades

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates is making a push to develop high-tech military hardware that would give it control over critical defence capabilities and lessen reliance on imports.

Wary of threats from rival Iran, and concerned over moves by some allies to hold up arms sales, the UAE is reshaping a military industry already seen as the region’s most sophisticated.

State defence companies have been brought together to form EDGE, a $5-billion conglomerate to spearhead development of advanced weapons for the country’s military.

Those ambitions were put on display at this week’s Dubai Airshow where the military handed an EDGE company a $1 billion contract for guided missiles.

“Like many countries, on specific critical capabilities you want to have sovereignty,” EDGE Chief Executive Faisal al-Bannai told Reuters.

The UAE’s defence industry dates back two decades, built through joint ventures and technology transfer programmes.

Much of it now sits under EDGE, manufacturing drones, small ammunitions and providing maintenance.

Abdulla al-Hashimi, assistant undersecretary for support services at the UAE Ministry of Defence, said sovereign capabilities were a “necessity” for security and the economy.