«According to Russian and Syrian officials and four citizens of Russia – and possibly dozens more – were killed in a battle in Eastern Syria between Pro-government forces and members of the US-led coalition against «Islamic state», – journalists of The New York Times, Ivan Nechepurenko, Neil MacFarquhar and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.
«An officer of the armed forces of Syria said that the fighting on 7 and 8 February were killed about a hundred Syrian soldiers,» the article says.
«For unknown reasons, until Syrian government forces and some Russian citizens, apparently, attacked the position of the coalition near al-Tabia in Syria. The attack occurred near dir al-Zura, strategically important and oil-rich areas, which tend to get Syrians. Most of the victims linked to us air strikes against the enemy columns, which asked the US-backed Kurdish fighters, who decided that they were attacked,» – says the journalists.
«In Syria there are hundreds, if not thousands, of contract, what the Russian government has never acknowledged, – the newspaper notes. – They used to help keep low the level of official losses and to avoid reports of casualties, especially given the fast-approaching March presidential elections in Russia.»
«Working in Syria, the Russian businessman Alexander Ionov, offering security and other services, said that after conversations with colleagues from several private military companies he believes could have been killed more than 200 Russians. According to Ionova, not all the dead were Russians: some mercenary soldiers arrived from other countries, once part of the Soviet Union,» reports the NYT.
«More than 200 is the current rating, it is impossible to know the exact number, but most of them were Russian,» – said the publication of the Ions in a telephone conversation. «We need to tell the truth, he said. – If people died, it should be recognized. Need to pay tribute to people who fought with the terrorists.»
He called on the government to provide a more complete version of events and added: «People are outraged, because I want to know the truth.»
The newspaper also reported: «Alexander Averin from the nationalist party «Other Russia» confirmed that the airstrike killed one member of the party, Kiril Ananiev, who went to Syria about a year ago.» Averin told the publication: «I can confirm that Cyril died on 7 February in Syria, near the Euphrates, in the impact of the us coalition». He added that he was aware of «substantial losses» incurred «associated with Russia paramilitary structures».
The other victim, a 51 – summer Vladimir Loginov. On the website of the Baltic Cossack Union said: «Sotnik Vladimir died in an unequal battle on 7 February 2018, near the Syrian dir al-Zura. Died heroically defending on the distant approaches to our Homeland from an invasion of crazed barbarians.
«The inhabitant of the Central Russian Lubava Kocheva in a short online correspondence said that in Syria 7 February killed two of her friends, Igor Asaturov and Stanislav Matveev,» – said in the article. Kocheva wrote: «We know nothing, will bring them [the body] or not. It is very difficult and scary.»