Russia admits dozens of Russian casualties in Syria battle

Russia’s foreign ministry has confirmed that “several dozen” Russian citizens – not regular soldiers – were killed or wounded in a recent battle in Syria.

The statement did not give the date. Previously the Russian government said “probably five” Russians had died in a clash in Deir al-Zour province.

Some reports have said more than 100 Russian mercenaries were killed in US air strikes on 7 February.

The latest Russian statement said no Russian regular forces were involved.

Russian officials generally refuse to give details of Russian “volunteers” involved in the Syria conflict.

Independent media have found evidence of Russian mercenaries fighting for the Syrian government side.

Russia’s official military role mainly takes the form of air strikes, helping President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

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