Friday, 25 May, 2018

USA reportedly killed as many as 100 Russian fighters in Syria attack

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Italian counterpart in Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Italian counterpart in Moscow
Faye Gross | 14 February, 2018, 18:09

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other USA officials said they had no information on Russian casualties in the February 7 clash, and the Kremlin did not confirm any Russian deaths.

Russia's military said it was not involved in the attack and the claim was accepted by the US.

USA troops killed dozens of Russian mercenaries in Syria in the deadliest clash between the former Cold War foes in decades, according to sources in three different countries.

"I'm sure the number of those confirmed dead is going to increase", said Alexander Ionov, a Russian anti-globalization activist who has fought in Syria and is well-connected among former fighters from eastern Ukraine. "But Russia will pretend nothing happened".

The strike was the second by the US against "pro-regime" forces since Wednesday, according to the USA military's Central Command. With Islamic State, which once controlled large swaths of Syria, now largely defeated, rival powers and militias are fighting in various combinations to fill the vacuum.

Very, potentially. During the war in Syria, Russia and the USA have maintained a communications channel to avoid collisions between their warplanes and soldiers on the battlefield.

Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin could only account for servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces who take part in military operations in support of the Syrian army.

He added no US personnel were killed or wounded, though one member of the Syrian Democratic forces was injured.

Averin said he believed that casualties among the Russians present amounted to more than "the typical Wagner loss of just a couple of people". The coalition did not suffer any fatalities and "enemy vehicles and personnel who turned around and headed back west were not targeted".

Russian forces are supporting the Syrian government in its war with opposition groups, some of which are backed by the United States. However, U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura joined Russia's, and Iran's attempts to mediate negotiations hoping they would revive Geneva's peace process.

"No one wants to start a world war over a volunteer or a mercenary who wasn't sent by the state and was hit by Americans", Vitaly Naumkin, a senior adviser to Russia's government on Syria, said in an interview.

South Korea's Moon hosts talks with North Korean leader's sister
As the first immediate member of the North's ruling family to visit South Korea, Kim was swarmed by the local news media. Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom cited Moon as replying: "Let's create the environment for that to be able to happen".


Mattis would not confirm whether Russian Federation did, or did not control the group of mercenaries.

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".

However, Harrigian refused to speculate on the composition of the hostile force.

"It's perplexing why they would do it", Mattis said.

He said the situation in Syria was not discussed during a phone conversation between Putin and US President Donald Trump on Monday.

He also suggested that contractors or employees of Russian private military companies have Hassama was not.

About Mattis said at the briefing, the transcript of which was spread by the Ministry of defense, reports TASS.

Meanwhile Israeli military assets - funded by USA taxpayers - are engaged in a proxy war of their own in Syria against Iran, another supporter of the Assad regime.

"The Kremlin has no desire to go to war with the USA a month before the election", Frolov said.

If the USA did kill Russian military contractors, it falls short of killing official Russian service members, which could escalate into a larger war.

The Times specifically confirms that four Russian nationals were among the pro-Syrian government forces killed by the US -led coalition of rebel fighters.

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