Three Russian soldiers killed in Syria, say pro-government sources
Two other Russian soldiers were reportedly killed in Syrian province of Hama in September
At least three Russian soldiers fighting with Syrian government forces were killed and several more wounded when a shell hit their position in the coastal province of Latakia, reported Reuters, quoting a senior pro-government military source.
According to the source, the incident took place near Nabi Younis in the province of Latakia and at least 20 Russians were at the post when the shell struck.
“It’s a 90 percent probability that the shell was fired by the militants,” the source toldReuters, referring to rebel groups that the Syrian army, backed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah and fighters from Iran, has been fighting.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied the reports, releasing a statement saying that “the Russian Armed Forces have lost none of its servicemen in Syria,” adding that they “have no information at our disposal about the Reuters reported ‘death of three Russians’ or ‘three Russian servicemen’ in Syria. All this looks like a new stove-piping case.”
There have also been unconfirmed reports of at least two other Russian soldiers killed in the Syrian province of Hama.
There has been heavy fighting for the Sahl al-Ghab region between Hama, Idlib and Latakia provinces, with government troops seeking to prevent rebels who control Idlib province from being able to attack Latakia.
The Pentagon says Russia has sent bombers, fighter jets, at least 500 troops and a slew of other military hardware to northwestern Syria in what many fear is an attempt to keep the war-torn country’s president, Assad, in power.
Russia has carried out more than 500 air raids in support of Assad’s forces and Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow’s air war demonstrated it could counter any “terrorist” threats.
“The operation has confirmed that Russia is ready to adequately and effectively respond to terrorist and any other threats to our country,” Putin said in a speech to military and intelligence commanders at the Kremlin.
Russia insists its air campaign is intended to target the Islamic State group and others it describes as “terrorists”.
But rebels and their backers accuse Moscow
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