Russian Federation admits 'several dozen' of its citizens killed in Syria fighting

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan at the Kremlin in Moscow Russia on 15 February 2018. Reuters

Russian Federation admits 'several dozen' of its citizens killed in Syria fighting

Dozens of Russian and CIS citizens were hurt in a recent skirmish in Syria and some were killed but these were not Russian troops, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a respected group of Russian online researchers, has named 10 citizens killed in the USA air strikes.

After US-backed rebels clashed with Russian mercenaries earlier this month, Moscow is warning Washington against "playing with fire" in Syria.

Moscow on Tuesday said dozens of Russian citizens were injured after a US drone attack this month in eastern Syria, amid mounting reports of casualties among Russian nationals in the country.

"It is not the place of the foreign ministry to assess the legality and legitimacy of their decisions", it added.

Mercenaries not directly affiliated with the Russian military may be convenient for Moscow's interests in Syria while assuring deniability of government involvement. "We'll work with obviously anyone who can answer that question".

"We are not against Kurds in Turkey, we are not against Kurds in Iran, in Iraq and Syria.", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavasoglu said at a security conference in Germany.

"But they took directions from someone".

Still, Russian officials deny they deploy private military contractors in Syria, saying Moscow's only military presence is a campaign of air strikes, a naval base, military instructors training Syrian forces, and limited numbers of special forces troops.

"Was it local direction?" Russian officials have told reporters that five Russian citizens may have been killed in clashes with US -led coalition forces. Don't ask me, I don't know.

But according to people familiar with the deployment, Russian Federation is using large numbers of the contractors in Syria because that allows Moscow to put more boots on the ground without risking regular soldiers whose deaths have to be accounted for.

Also, Sergey Lavrov called on the United States to observe an agreement about the inadmissibility for non-Syrian forces to be present in the southwestern zone of de-escalation in Syria.

Latest News