Tens of Russian and CIS Citizens Killed in Syria Were Not Military - Moscow
15:33 20.02.2018(updated 17:12 20.02.2018)
According to preliminary information shared by the Russian Foreign Ministry last week, at least 5 Russian volunteers were killed in US-led coalition's airstrike on pro-Damascus forces in Syria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that tens of Russian and CIS nationals had been killed in recent clashes in Syria, emphasizing that they were not military.
"In the course of the recent military clashes, in which the Russian servicemen did not participate in any way […], Russian and CIS countries' nationals were killed and several others were wounded."
According to the ministry, those injured have been assisted in order to return to Russia and have been provided medical aid.
On February 15, when asked to comment on media reports, alleding that a large number of Russian "mercenaries" had been killed in Syria, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that, according to preliminary data, five presumably Russian nationals had died. She emphasized that reports of hundreds of Russian citizens killed in a US-led coalition's airstrike were "disinformation" spread by anti-government forces.
At the same time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that he didn't rule out that Russian nationals, who do not belong to the Russian Armed Forces, could be in Syria.
On February 8, US Central Command announced that the coalition conducted what it described as "defensive airstrikes" against pro-government forces near the Euphrates River as a response to an alleged attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters, which reportedly resulted in the death of at least 100 pro-government militia. The attack was slammed by Damascus as "a new act of aggression that constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity."
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that militiamen came under fire of the coalition because lack of coordination of actions with Moscow, adding that there were no Russian servicemen in the area.
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