Leaks confirm death of top Russian general in Syria

Wednesday, 03 October 2012

By AL ARABIYA EXCLUSIVE

Contrary to an official denial on Moscow’s behalf, leaked documents aired by Al Arabiya suggest that a Russian military general who worked as a military advisor to the Syrian regime was indeed killed by opposition forces on Aug. 

Maj. Gen. Vladimir Kojève was reportedly killed when opposition Free Syrian Army raided his car. Following his death, a number of documents were obtained from his personal briefcase which was found inside his vehicle.

These documents were eventually leaked among others to Al Arabiya from opposition sources.

The channel said that it has verified and authenticated hundreds of these documents and that it has decided to disclose ones with substantial news value and political relevance.

One of the documents found inside the briefcase was an ID card with Kojève’s name and birth-date (1956). The ID card, which was issued by the Syrian authorities on June 26, 2007, gave him full access to all Syrian security institutions.

Another document that was found in the briefcase included Kojève’s request for approval to go on vacation to Moscow for a period between Dec. 10, 2011 and Jan. 14, 2012. Kojève indicated that his request was in “accordance with the terms of the contract special to Russian military advisors in Syria.”

The request was addressed to then Army Chief of Staff Fahad Jassim al-Frei, who is now serving as Assad’s defense minister.

The documents leaked to Al Arabiya also included a picture of Kojève’s Mazda Zoom car with tinted glasses; along with a special permission from the interior ministry permission for him to tint his car for ‘safety reasons’.

Kojève car was ambushed in the Damascus suburb of al-Ghouta and he was killed with three of his companions according to opposition sources.

Following the ambush Syrian air force helicopters raided the area and clashed with the opposition Ousama Ib Zeid opposition Brigade. During the clashes, regime forces were able to recover the body of Kojève. A video provided to Al Arabiya showed the bodies of what the opposition said were Kojève’s aides.

In Aug. 8, the Russian embassy in Syria denied reports that any of its military officials were killed in Syria. In Moscow, a man named Vladimir Kojève denied , in statements to Russian News Agency (Interfax) reports that he was killed by the Free Syrian Army.

A Russian military source said Gen. Kojève used to work as counselor for the Syrian Defense Ministry before he retired. “I want to confirm that I am well and I live in Moscow. Everything is fine. These lies are horrible and as a General I think these rumors do not target me as a person but my country as well.

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