First Russian Casualties in Syrian Civil War
Meanwhile, the Russian-led coalition of Syrian army and its irregular NDF forces, Iran’s Quds Force and IRGC forces, the Lebanese Hezbollah and other foreign Shia militias, mostly Afghans and Pakistanis, continued the fifth day of their offensive near Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov today told Russia’s news agency Interfax that in the past 24 hours, Russian Aerospace Force carried out 55 combat sorties in Aleppo, Latakia, Idlib, Hama and Damascus provinces. He added the airstrikes were carried out by Su-24M, Su-25SM and Su-34 aircraft.
The five-days-old operation in Aleppo has had initial successes, with pro-government forces retaking some towns and villages around the strategic city. It was not clear, however, when the pro-government forces would begin their offensive on the city itself, which was expected to have taken place by now.
UPDATE: Russian embassy in Damascus had denied the Reuters report, saying the embassy had no report on the death of Russian servicemen in Latakia, Fars News Agency reported. Reuters, however, quoted the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdulrahman, as saying that observatory sources have confirmed the deaths of Russians.
File photo: Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback heavy strike fighter (ausairpower.net)