Four Russian troops killed after rebel attack in Syria

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Four Russian military personnel were killed in fighting in eastern Syria’s Deir Az Zor province in a battle that left dozens of rebels dead.

Fighting erupted after several armed groups attacked an artillery battery belonging to Syrian government forces, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday, citing a defence ministry statement.

Two Russian military advisers who directed fire from the Syrian battery were killed on the spot. Five other personnel were wounded and taken to a Russian military hospital, where two died from their wounds.

Forty-three rebels were killed in the same fighting, the ministry said.

“Four Russian servicemen were killed by militant fire in the Syrian Arab Republic” when “several mobile terrorist groups attacked Syrian government artillery at night”, the statement said.

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It didn’t say when the fighting occurred, although several reports suggested it may have taken place last Wednesday.

The Russian statement raised the official count of soldiers killed in Syria to 92. 

Russia is the main military backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s seven-year civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Moscow’s intervention in September 2015 tilted the conflict in favour of Assad’s forces, who have in recent months made territorial gains against armed groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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