"Russians killed" in major US Syria strike

Reports: Russian Military Contractors Killed in US-Led Attack in Syria

Reports: Russian Military Contractors Killed in US-Led Attack in Syria

Earlier, the United States military said that it killed more than 100 Syrian militiamen allied with the government of President Bashar Assad after some 500 fighters targeted "well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters" in Deir al-Zor province in what the Pentagon called an "unprovoked attack".

The Russian parliament is working on a bill to regulate private military companies, a senior lawmaker said Wednesday after reports that an unknown number of Russian military contractors were killed in a US strike in Syria.

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. "More than 200 is the current estimate, we can not know the exact number yet, but majority were Russian", he said in a telephone interview.

"We don't have information on any other Russians who might be in Syria", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The Kremlin and the Russian Defence Ministry have refused to comment on media reports on Russian private contractors in Syria. Some Russian lawmakers have called for legislation that would set rules fro private military contractors.

The U.S. -led coalition responded with "AC-130 gunships, F-15s, F-22s, Army Apache helicopter gunships and Marine Corps artillery", according to Fox News reporter Lucas Tomlinson.

If the USA did kill Russian military contractors, it falls short of killing official Russian service members, which could escalate into a larger war. I can't give you anything on that.

"Officially denying deaths of armed Russian citizens that fight in Syria by the leadership of Russia is absolutely unacceptable".

The United States' actions in Syria indicate that Washington might be seeking to undermine Syria's territorial integrity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

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Without mentioning the USA strike, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that "Americans have taken risky unilateral steps".

Private contractors - why are they in Syria?

Mevlut Cavusoglu also told reporters in Istanbul that ties between Turkey and the USA are at a "very critical stage", the Associated Press said.

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.

The strike was the second by the US against "pro-regime" forces since Wednesday, according to the USA military's Central Command.

In the Baltic Sea city of Kaliningrad, a local Cossack conservative group also reported losing one of its own, Vladimir Login, in the attack.

The death toll from the skirmish, already about five times more than Russia's official losses in Syria, is still rising, according to one mercenary commander who said by phone that dozens of his wounded men are still being treated at military hospitals in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

The Russian assault may have been a rogue operation, underscoring the complexity of a conflict that started as a domestic crackdown only to morph into a proxy war involving Islamic extremists, stateless Kurds and regional powers Iran, Turkey and now Israel. 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.

The ISIS Hunters specifically condemned both the U.S. Coalition and the Kurdish forces that are now in control of the majority of the northeastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. Strelkov wrote on his Vkontakte page on February 10 about "several hundred" killed and injured Russian mercenaries.

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