Kremlin Is Aloof as Wounded Return After Fighting US in Syria

Kremlin Is Aloof as Wounded Return After Fighting US in Syria

Pro-regime forces began advancing toward the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their US advisers near Al Tabiyeh, Syria, on Saturday, firing mortars and small-arms as they moved.

It said in a statement last week that the operation came after some 500 pro-government forces attacked a group of US-backed opposition forces in the region.

At least two Russian fighters were killed in United States air strikes in north-eastern Syria last week, their associates have told the BBC.

In the Baltic Sea city of Kaliningrad, a local Cossack conservative group also reported losing one of its own, Vladimir Login, in the attack. It said their associates also confirmed that "dozens" of other Russian fighters lost their lives in the same fighting on February 7. According to USA officials, a force of some 500 crossed the Euphrates River near Deir Ezzor, along with tanks, missile launchers and artillery.

Russia's denied any official involvement.

The reports said the military contractors were part of a Syria government offensive to take back control of oil fields in Dayr al-Zawr from militants.

The U.S. counterattack involved the use of F-15 fighter jets, B-52 bombers, AC-130 gunships and Apache combat helicopters as well as MQ-9 Reaper drones.

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Screenshot of Russian soldiers in the Syrian desert.

The attack on pro-Damascus forces wasn't the first one carried out by the US-led coalition.

Syrian Arab trainees await commands from an instructor at a Syrian Democratic Forces' rifle marksmanship range in Northern Syria, July 31, 2017.

"We only handle the data that concerns Russian forces servicemen", Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said at a news briefing Tuesday.

The river acts as a border between the coalition and Russian and Syrian forces, and the Pentagon also described the SDF location as well-known, and that therefore the attack wasn't a mistake. Vladimir Frolov, an independent Moscow foreign policy analyst, said Putin was looking for calm ahead of the presidential election next month, in which he is expected to win a fourth term.

The Russian citizens are fighting in Syria for a private military company, according to numerous reports. I can't give you anything on that.

Averin said he believed that casualties among the Russians present amounted to more than "the typical Wagner loss of just a couple of people".

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What about the Russian mercenaries?

. Some Russian lawmakers have called for legislation that would set rules fro private military contractors.

The Sochi Congress, in which all segments of the Syria people including Syrian Kurds had participated, proved that the Syrians are firmly committed to their country's unity and safety, which is clearly highlighted in the final statement of the Congress, Bogdanov clarified.

Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said the coalition had spoken with Russian Federation via a special hotline prior to the strike "to avoid misperceptions and miscalculations that could endanger each other's forces".

The rift deepened after Turkey launched an operation targeting the YPG in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria on January 20, despite calls by the USA for restraint.

Widespread reports suggest Russian military contractors drove the tank and had been behind multiple attacks on the USA and its allies in Syria.

Private contractors - why are they in Syria?

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