Published: Thu, August 03, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Russia's mounting deaths in Syria

Russia's mounting deaths in Syria

Reuters based its estimate on accounts from families and friends of the deceased and local officials.

While the Russian Defense Ministry claims 10 Russian servicemen have been killed in Syria since January 1, Reuters reports that an investigation by its correspondents, which was made public on August 2, shows at least 40 Russian troops and contract soldiers have lost their lives in Syria in 2017.

But the Defense Ministry in Moscow rejected the Reuters report.

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"There are no alleged "secret" burials of Russian soldiers who died in Syria", spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

As for the claim that Russian citizens are fighting in Syria as volunteers, "it has nothing to do with the [Russian] state or the defense ministry, therefore regarding this information, one should address Reuters on where [they got it from] and what sources they used", the Kremlin spokesman said.

"The true level of casualties in the Syrian conflict is a sensitive subject in a country where positive coverage of the conflict features prominently in the media and ahead of a presidential election next year that incumbent Vladimir Putin is expected to win", Reuters notes.

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Since 2015, Russian Federation has been conducting cruise missile strikes and aerial attacks against terrorist positions in Syria at a request from the Syrian government.

Discrepancies in the data may be explained partially by the fact that Russian Federation does not acknowledge that private contractors fight alongside the army.

The deaths included 21 private contractors and 17 soldiers.

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The Russian embassy's compound in Damascus came under mortar fire on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary, adding that fortunately nobody was hurt, TASS reports.

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