A US airstrike on pro-Assad forces in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province last week has reportedly killed “scores” of Russian mercenaries, according to reports from Russia and the US.
There are varying reports of the precise number of casualties, however Bloomberg has reported “more than 200 contract soldiers, mostly Russians” died during a failed attack on a joint US and Kurdish base in the oil-rich region.
According to US Central Command, American and Kurdish forces came under fire from a tank, prompting three hours of intensive air strikes against an estimated 300 to 500 fighters loyal to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
The Guardian says that if the high number of casualties is confirmed, it would be “the most lethal clash between US and Russian citizens since the end of the cold war.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told media that Moscow has “no information about the deaths of any Russian mercenaries in Syria”, adding that they only keep track of “Russian forces servicemen”, and not other Russians who “could be in Syria.”