Reports of Russian deaths underscore dangers of Syria's war

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Italian counterpart in Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Italian counterpart in Moscow

On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that United States and Kurdish forces in Syria had killed 200 fighters last week, including many Russian contract soldiers, according to several Russian sources and an American official.

It said the USA strikes, which reportedly killed about 100 of the attackers, were in self-defence.

Syrian regime forces launched a coordinated attack that included about 500 regime troops, 122mm howitzers, tanks and multiple launch rocket systems on the USA -backed SDF headquarters in Deir al-Zor province approximately five miles east of the Euphrates River.

If those numbers hold, it could be the deadliest clash between citizens of the United States and Russian Federation since the end of the Cold War.

"Let's be frank: There are rather large numbers of our Russian countrymen in many countries of the world, and it is very hard in this case to possess detailed information", Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday in response to a question about the Russian deaths.

Although it has not yet been confirmed, multiple reports have indicated that the coalition advisors that were engaged by the tank along with the SDF were likely U.S. Special Operations troops, in Syria to provide training and support to American-backed forces.

The Russian citizens are fighting in Syria for a private military company, according to numerous reports.

He also said Putin didn't speak about anything related to Syria in a phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday. It was then that the Russian liaison officer contacted the SDF again, asking for a pause to collect those killed in the USA strikes, according to Hassan's account as narrated by Ignatius. Alexander Ionov, a Russian businessman working in Syria offering security and other services, said he estimated after conversations with associates in several private military organizations that more than 200 Russians might have been killed. I can't give you anything on that.

Vitaly Naumkin, perhaps Russia's most prominent Syria expert, also urged restraint in a news conference at the Valdai Discussion Club.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis played down the incident, saying: "This could just be a local couple of guys doing something".

This incident is not the first time Russian mercenaries have been reported to be operating in Syria. In recent days, rumors swirled online in Russian Federation that large numbers of those military contractors had perished under American fire. "The fact is that someone made a decision to attack us, and the Russians said that it is not about them".

But he would not comment on whether Russian Federation has influence over the forces that did attack. There was, however, no mention that numerous fighters killed were Russian mercenaries.

According to the above named reports, the Russian military were among Syrian forces targeted coalition of Hasama.

Syrian Arab trainees await commands from an instructor at a Syrian Democratic Forces' rifle marksmanship range in Northern Syria, July 31, 2017.

But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other USA officials said they had no such information on casualties, and the Kremlin did not confirm any Russian deaths. Fighters involved in the February 7 assault in Syria were linked to Wagner, two people familiar with the matter said, a shadowy private military contractor which has a training camp at a commando base in southern Russian Federation.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.