Syria: 26 regime forces; 9 Russian fighters killed in IS attack, says report
At least 26 Syrian troops and nine Russian fighters lost their lives in an attack conducted by the Islamic State (IS) in Syria's eastern desert earlier this week, a monitor said on Sunday, May 27, AFP reported.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attackers targeted a group of Syrian and Russian soldiers near Mayadeen town in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria on Wednesday, May 23, the report added. It also said that not all of the slain Russian fighters were government troops.
"There were 35 pro-government forces killed, including at least nine Russians. Some of those Russian nationals were government troops, but not all of them," AFP quoted Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman as saying.
Russia has backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in the conflict which involves rebels and Western countries but there are reports that besides the Russian military, private Russian mercenaries are also operating on the ground as aides to the Syrian regime, the report added.
The Russian defence ministry also said on Sunday that four Russian servicemen were killed in clashes with militants in Deir Ezzor though it did not mention the precise date and location but according to the Observatory, it was the same attack which it mentioned, said the AFP report.
The defence ministry said two Russian military advisers "commanding the Syrian artillery" were killed on the spot while two other soldiers died later in a Russian military hospital, AFP added.
The ministry also said that 43 militants were killed in the fighting that lasted around an hour, the report added.
The AFP also cited the Russian defence ministry's statement which said 92 Russian soldiers have been killed in Syria since Moscow entered the country's unending civil war in September 2015.