Russian fighters of the so-called "Slavonic Corps" in Syria. Credit: PMC
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DAMASCUS – At least three Russian nationals fighting for Assad regime were killed and several others injured in an attack by Syrian rebel factions in the coastal province of Latakia, military sources reported on Tuesday.
The Russian fighters were killed after a mortar shell fired by Syrian rebels hit their stronghold in the Nabi Younis sub-district in Latakia suburb on Monday midnight.
A senior Syrian regime official confirmed the death of three Russian fighters and the injury of more than 15 others during the rebel-led attack.
“At least 20 Russians were at the post in the Nabi Younis area when the shell struck,” the official told Reuters. “It’s a 90 percent probability that the shell was fired by the militants,” he said, referring to anti-Assad rebel forces.
Speaking to ARA News, a spokesman for the Army of Conquest rebel group said: “Since Russia insists to support the Assad regime, we will target its ground forces everywhere in Syria.”
“Putin claims his fighter jets came to Syria to combat Daesh (ISIS), but they are actually bombing our positions.”
“The presence of Russian fighters in the ranks of the pro-Assad troops proves the real reason behind Moscow’s intervention in Syria; they are here to support Assad, and we will fight them as we are doing against all pro-Assad militias,” he said.
In the meantime, Moscow denied deploying any ground troops in fighting positions in Syria, except a number of military advisers and trainers to assist the Syrian army in what it called “war on terrorism”.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi