Russia keeps mum about actual troops death toll in Syria
Russian soldiers carrying a coffin of a soldier killed in Syria in 2015 (AFP)
Date: 2017-04-19 07:24
About two dozens of Russian troops were killed in Syria, fighting alongside Assad terrorists to retake the historical city of Palmyra northeast of Damascus, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Reuters said that according to evidence it gathered, the death toll stands at 21 Russian troops, during the period from January 29 until March 31, a number which is four times higher than Moscow’s officially declared number of 5 servicemen killed.
Reuters reported last month, based on conversations with friends and relatives of the killed men, social media posts, and cemetery officials, that 18 Russian citizens had been killed from Jan. 29 to March 31.
Since then, Reuters has established the deaths in combat of a further three, and said interviews with people close to them indicated they were military contractors rather than regular servicemen.
Apart from regular soldiers, Russia deploys private contractors to Syria. These “private contractors” have civilian status, officially, but are often retired veterans with battlefield experience, according to Reuters.
Moscow does not admit the presence of military contractors in Syria and does not reveal casualties among them. Its official death toll since its intervention in September 2015 in Syria is 30, but as casualties are a state secret under Russian law military, the number could be higher.
Opposition fighters had declared at many instances the killing of Russian troops during the fights with Assad terrorists and the allied militias, which include not only Russian but also Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis and Lebanese.
On Tuesday, opposition fighters declared killing two Russian troops in the fighting in Rahbat Khattab near Hama after targeting a gathering of Assad terrorists and a number of Russian troops.