Russian ambassador to Ankara has been killed in a gun attack in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Russia’s foreign ministry said.
Andrey Karlov was several minutes into a speech at a photo exhibition when he was shot in the back multiple times on Monday evening.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made the announcement of Karlov’s death in a live televised statement.
Warning: The photos are very graphic. They show the ambassador’s bloody body lying on the ground.
Footage of the Russian Ambassador getting shot, gunman clearly shouting "Allahu Akbar"pic.twitter.com/StTaC8cCO3
— Michael Horowitz (@michaelh992) December 19, 2016
The gunman was a 22-year-old off-duty police officer who worked in the Turkish capital, Ankara’s mayor said.
After he shot the diplomat, the assailant let the guests out of the exhibition venue, according to local media.
Several media outlets reported that a gun fight ensued after Karlov was shot.
Local broadcaster NTV television said at least three people were wounded and were taken to the hospital.
A witness talking to Turkey’s CNNTurk television said that the attacker was acting alone.
“He (the attacker) said that I will not leave this place alive,” according to the witness.
‘Don’t forget Aleppo’
The assailant referenced the situation in Aleppo after he shot the ambassador in the back multiple times.
“Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria,” the attacker said right after he shot down the ambassador, as seen on a video shared by Turkish media from the scene.
“Whoever took part in this cruelty will pay the price, one by one … Only death will take me from here,” the man said, while carrying a handgun.
The tragedy of Aleppo has escalated in recent weeks, as human rights organizations accuse Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad and his Russian backers of targeting civilians in air strikes and for mass executions. One woman streamed a video calling the Aleppo situation a “genocide” and tragic photos have shown injured children and wounded civilians. There were also reports of buses, that were supposed to be evacuating people, burning. Aleppo used to be Syria’s main population center and its center of finance. The Syrian civil war stemmed from the Arab Spring uprisings as Assad’s government forces, backed by Russia, fought back against rebel and pro-Democracy forces.
Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency said the attacker was killed by the security forces after a gun fight.
Turkey’s interior minister Suleyman Soylu has reached the location of the attack.
Hundreds of armed soldiers in camouflage and police officers were at the scene, along with armored vehicles as the last reports came in.
The attack came a day before a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign and defence ministers in Moscow to discuss Syria.
Those talks will go ahead on Tuesday despite the murder of Karlov, the Interfax news agency cited Leonid Slutsky, a senior parliamentarian, as saying.