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Reports of Russian deaths underscore dangers of Syria's war

Reports of Russian deaths underscore dangers of Syria's war

The U.S. -backed Kurdish-led forces have been vying with Russian-backed Syrian troops reinforced by Iranian-supported militias for control of the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.

For reasons that remain unclear, Syrian government troops and some Russian nationals appear to have attacked a coalition position, near Al Tabiyeh, Syria.

Reuters reported the names of at least two Russian men fighting informally with pro-Assad forces who were killed in the incident in Deir al-Zor province, citing interviews with their associates. Russian nationals killed in the USA -led counter-strike include Vladimir Loginov, Kirill Ananyev, Alexei Ladygin, Stanislav Matveyev and Igor Kosoturov, some of whom had earlier fought in Donbass, according to the Conflict Intelligence Team.

Russian citizen and "Another Russia" activist Kiril Ananyev was killed in Syria as result of an airstrike launched by the US-led coalition in the countryside of Deir Ezzor last week, the group's coordinator Alexander Averin told RIA Novosti news agency.

"We have details of servicemen of the Russian armed forces, who are taking part in the Russian military operation in support of the Syrian army", Dmitry Peskov said.

"As the hostile forces turned west and retreated, we ceased fire", Harrigian, speaking from his headquarters in Qatar, said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon.

But occasional attacks on pro-regime forces, which the United States says are conducted in self defence, raise the risks of America being sucked into a broader conflict.

They also come weeks ahead of Russia's March 18 presidential election.

Russian forces are supporting the Syrian government in its war with opposition groups, some of which are backed by the United States.

The U.S. counterattack involved the use of F-15 fighter jets, B-52 bombers, AC-130 gunships and Apache combat helicopters as well as MQ-9 Reaper drones. Yet there are hundreds if not thousands of contract soldiers in Syria whom the Russian government has never acknowledged.

He said that talk of "separatist inclinations" by some sides are the results of the American actions as they have misled those sides into thinking will remain under the USA custody and protection no matter what they do, which also caused a reaction from Turkey.

Analysts have grown increasingly concerned that the conflict in Syria could spill well beyond its borders, given the number of powers engaged in the country. USA coalition forces were in "regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted, unprovoked attack", he wrote.

"This is a big scandal and a reason for an acute worldwide crisis", said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat and lawmaker who's now an independent political analyst.

We don't run a whole lot of news on the geopolitical and military fronts, but we think we found a story today that everyone needs to be wary of. I can't give you anything on that.

The officials said the US was puzzled because proper procedures had been followed - American forces used the deconfliction line to get Russia's go-ahead to defend coalition forces against the attackers.

However, Russian law forbids the hiring of mercenaries or working as one. Putin and Trump spoke by phone on Monday, but reportedly did not discuss the Syria incident. Russian media reports suggest that Wagner, a private Russian military contractor, sent the soldiers to guard energy assets on behalf of Assad.

Private contractors - why are they in Syria?