Russian General Vladimir Petrovich Kojye denied reports he was killed by Syrian rebels on Wednesday. "I wish to confirm that I am live and well," he told reporters in Moscow. He did not mention when he last visited Damascus.
"My phone hasn't stop ringing all day," he told Russia's Interfax news agency.
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The Free Syrian Army, Syria's largest armed rebel group, announced Wednesday that its men have killed a Russian general who was an advisor to former Syrian Defense Minister Dawoud Rajih. Rajih himself was killed in an attack in Damascus several weeks ago.
In a message aired by Al-Arabiya, an FSA representative said that the elimination of General Vladimir Petrovich Kojye and his personal translator proves that Russia is deeply involved in the Syrian crisis.
It was further claimed that documents and maps showing rebel deployments were confiscated. The operation was reportedly organized by rebel forces in Damascus together with periphery forces.
Al-Arabiya report announcing general's death
According to the report, the killing was carried out with the help of the rebels' military HQ in Damascus after the Russian general and his security guards started firing at an FSA post.
Al-Arabiya displayed an image of Kojye together with Syrian Defense Minister Rajih as well as the general's identity card.
Earlier, a Russian Defense Ministry source said there were no generals by the name Kojye in the Russian Army.
“There are no generals with the surname Kojaiv or any other similar surnames in the Russian Army,” the source said, but admitted the man might have been a “military retiree” or a member of the army of one of the former member-states of the USSR who are often incorrectly called “Russians.”
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