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Dozens of Russians Are Believed Killed in U.S.-Backed Syria Attack, War | Syria – Deir al-Zour, Islamic State

February 13, 2018 6:27 pm Categorised in:

Dozens of Russians Are Believed Killed in U.S.-Backed Syria Attack, Russia, United States 13-2-2018 | Syria – Deir al-Zour
Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials.
A Syrian military officer said that about 100 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the fighting on Feb. 7 and 8, but news about Russian casualties has dribbled out only slowly, through Russian news organizations and social media. Much about the attack and the associated casualties has been obscured in the fog of war. For reasons that remain unclear, Syrian government troops and some Russian nationals appear to have attacked a coalition position, near Al Tabiyeh, Syria. War – American special forces in Manbij, Syria, near the border with Turkey, this month.
The attack occurred in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour, a strategic, oil-rich territory that is coveted by the Syrians. Most of the fatalities were attributed to an American airstrike on enemy columns that was called in by American-backed Kurdish soldiers who believed they were under attack. At no point, an American military spokesman said, was there any chance of direct conflict between United States and Russian forces.
“Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted, unprovoked attack,” according to Col. Ryan S. Dillon, a spokesman for the American military. “Russian officials assured coalition officials they would not engage coalition forces in the vicinity.”
The Kremlin — seeking to play down its involvement in the fighting in Syria and seemingly hoping to avoid escalating tensions with the United States — has sidestepped questions about the episode, even as it faces rare criticism at home over its failure to acknowledge the deaths of Russians in Syria. It has stressed repeatedly since last Wednesday that no members of the Russian armed forces were killed, and that any Russians fighting alongside the Syrians were mercenaries. “We only handle the data that concerns Russian forces servicemen,” Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said at a news briefing on Tuesday. “We don’t have data about other Russians who could be in Syria.” The Kremlin said much the same about the nature of the forces in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, however, claiming they were volunteers and men on vacation, only to admit later that they were regular soldiers.
President Vladimir V. Putin has said at least three times since 2016 that combat operations in Syria were winding down, including once during a surprise visit to a Russian air base in Syria last December. Yet there are hundreds if not thousands of contract soldiers in Syria whom the Russian government has never acknowledged. They were deployed both to help keep the official cost down and to avoid reports of casualties, especially with a March presidential election in Russia fast approaching. Even though the Kremlin enacted a law during the Ukraine crisis in 2015 to make battlefield casualties a secret, the funerals for regular soldiers killed in combat need to be more official than those for mercenaries, and are thus difficult to hide. And some individual Russians have begun speaking out. Aleksandr 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. Mr. Ionov said not all those killed were Russian: Some of the paid fighters came from other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. “More than 200 is the current estimate, we cannot know the exact number yet, but most of them were Russian,” he said in a telephone interview. Mr. Ionov said he was speaking out because he wanted any Russians who were killed to be officially recognized for their sacrifice. “The truth has to be told,” he said. “If people died, then this should be recognized and respects should be paid to people who fought against terrorists.” He called on the government to give a fuller version of events, adding, “People are outraged because they want to know the truth.”

Dozens of Russians Are Believed Killed in U.S.-Backed Syria Attack 13-2-2018 A Syrian military officer said that about 100 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the fighting on Feb. 7 and 8, but news about Russian casualties has dribbled out only slowly, through Russian news organizations and social media. Much about the attack and the associated casualties has been obscured in the fog of war. For reasons that remain unclear, Syrian government troops and some Russian nationals appear to have attacked a coalition position, near Al Tabiyeh, Syria.,The attack occurred in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour, a strategic, oil-rich territory that is coveted by the Syrians. Most of the fatalities were attributed to an American airstrike on enemy columns that was called in by American-backed Kurdish soldiers who believed they were under attack. At no point, an American military spokesman said, was there any chance of direct conflict between United States and Russian forces., “Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted, unprovoked attack,” according to Col. Ryan S. Dillon, a spokesman for the American military. “Russian officials assured coalition officials they would not engage coalition forces in the vicinity.”,Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials., Islamic State, Russia, United States ,The Kremlin — seeking to play down its involvement in the fighting in Syria and seemingly hoping to avoid escalating tensions with the United States — has sidestepped questions about the episode, even as it faces rare criticism at home over its failure to acknowledge the deaths of Russians in Syria. It has stressed repeatedly since last Wednesday that no members of the Russian armed forces were killed, and that any Russians fighting alongside the Syrians were mercenaries. “We only handle the data that concerns Russian forces servicemen,” Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said at a news briefing on Tuesday. “We don’t have data about other Russians who could be in Syria.” The Kremlin said much the same about the nature of the forces in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, however, claiming they were volunteers and men on vacation, only to admit later that they were regular soldiers.,President Vladimir V. Putin has said at least three times since 2016 that combat operations in Syria were winding down, including once during a surprise visit to a Russian air base in Syria last December. Yet there are hundreds if not thousands of contract soldiers in Syria whom the Russian government has never acknowledged. They were deployed both to help keep the official cost down and to avoid reports of casualties, especially with a March presidential election in Russia fast approaching. Even though the Kremlin enacted a law during the Ukraine crisis in 2015 to make battlefield casualties a secret, the funerals for regular soldiers killed in combat need to be more official than those for mercenaries, and are thus difficult to hide. And some individual Russians have begun speaking out. Aleksandr 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. Mr. Ionov said not all those killed were Russian: Some of the paid fighters came from other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. “More than 200 is the current estimate, we cannot know the exact number yet, but most of them were Russian,” he said in a telephone interview. Mr. Ionov said he was speaking out because he wanted any Russians who were killed to be officially recognized for their sacrifice. “The truth has to be told,” he said. “If people died, then this should be recognized and respects should be paid to people who fought against terrorists.” He called on the government to give a fuller version of events, adding, “People are outraged because they want to know the truth.”

 
 

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