Moscow acknowledged the existence of "dozens" of wounded and dead in Syria

Moscow acknowledged the existence of

Moscow acknowledged the existence of "dozens" of wounded and dead in Syria

While the Kremlin has repeatedly denied having any connection to the fighters, the Foreign Ministry said last week that five Russian citizens had "presumably" been killed.

"They are clearly not interested or willing in escalating on their behalf", said Michael Hanna, a Middle East expert at the Century Foundation.The United States has confirmed that a force loyal to Bashar al-Assad and supported by artillery attacked a Syrian Democratic Forces base manned by Kurdish troops and American advisers on February 7 around Deir Ezzor.

Russian officials have told reporters that five Russian citizens may have been killed in clashes with USA -led coalition forces.

The Russian defense minister also accused the USA of having a "hidden agenda", claiming that the aim of what he labeled as Washington's "illegal military presence in Syria" was is to control the country's assets - not defeat Daesh.

Russia is watching with alarm the attempts of the United States to implement its plans for sharing Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the opening of a conference at the global discussion club "Valday", quoted by TASS.

Moscow has provided no details of what the mercenaries were doing, but accounts of the operation have emerged in interviews with family members.

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Russian officials refuse to admit Russian mercenaries are in Syria despite mounting reported evidence that they are active fighting in the interests of the Syrian government.

Under the deal, the company would capture and secure oil and gas infrastructure in Syria in exchange for a 25 percent share in future resource production.

"I want everyone to know about my husband, and not just about my husband, but about all the guys who died there so stupidly", Yelena Matveyeva told the regional news site Znak.com.

Families of the dead men have demanded an explanation for what happened.

"The recent military clashes, in no way involving Russian servicemen or service equipment, resulted in the deaths of citizens of Russia and the CIS [former Soviet republics], as already mentioned", the ministry said in an online statement Tuesday. Was it local directions? Participated in the fighting in the Donbas and in Syria on the side of Russian Federation. "Was it from external sources?Don't ask me.I don't know", the US defense secretary said.

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