Aug. 8 - Russian general denies Syrian rebel video claim that he was killed in Syria. Simon Hanna reports.
A Syrian rebel group issues a video statement saying it has killed a Russian general who was working with Syria's defence ministry. The group, calling itself the "Hawks Special Operations Battalion", last month claimed responsibility for the assassination of four of President Bashar al-Assad's top lieutenants. The speaker gave the name of the general as Vladimir Petrovich Kochyev. The video shows what the rebels say is a copy of his ID as well as a picture which shows Kochyev and another Russian officer posing with the Syrian chief of staff. But Russian news agencies denied that he had been killed, saying he appeared in person at the defence ministry on Wednesday. The ministry called the allegation a "bald faced lie". Russia, which has an estimated several hundred military personnel in Syria, is one of the few countries still backing Assad diplomatically since a popular uprising erupted against his rule 17 months ago. END