US Strikes Killed Scores of Russia Fighters in Syria, Sources Say

US Strikes Killed Scores of Russia Fighters in Syria, Sources Say

The US responded with airstrikes that killed about 100 of the attackers, according to the coalition, with the rest retreating.

If the numbers are accurate, the strike marks the deadliest exchange between Americans and Russians since the Cold War.

The Russians, who were fighting on the side of embattled Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, attacked a military base in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria on February 7, according to the Bloomberg report.

It's not clear who was paying the Russian contingent, whether it was Russia directly, Syria, Iran or a third party.

The Syrian government on Tuesday undermined the main outcome of last month's peace talks in Sochi by rejecting United Nations -led efforts to form a committee to oversee the drafting of a new Syrian constitution, Reuters reported.

Regime forces operating Russian-made T-55 and T-72 tanks fired 20-30 tank rounds within 500 feet of the SDF base, where some USA troops were embedded, according to Pentagon press secretary Dana W. White.

It said it was in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the attack and that Russian officials assured coalition officials they would not strike coalition forces.

At least 100 Russian mercenaries were killed by American-backed military forces during an attack on a US-held base in Syria, according to reports.

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Russian forces have been propping up Assad during the seven-year war and began backing his regime with troops and firepower in 2015.

Earlier on Monday, one of the Russian presidential candidates, Grigory Yavlinsky, urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide a "report" on "numerous" Russian nationals that were allegedly killed in Syria. The fighters had no air cover or mobile air defense to protect them during the fighting, they said. US officials also said the Russian government had lodged no complaint about its citizens being killed.

The Russian Defence Ministry has insisted its troops were not involved in the incident.

In its statement about the attack, Russia's Defense Ministry seemed to refer to the refinery, accusing the US of using its "illegal presence" in Syria as an excuse to "seize economic assets" instead of fighting terrorists.

The Kremlin on Wednesday said it could not rule out that there were Russians in Syria, but that if so, they had no affiliation with Russian armed forces.

The Baltic Cossack District said in a statement that Loginov was a Russian citizen who was killed in an "unequal battle" while "heroically defending our Fatherland in its far reaches from insane barbarians" when he died on February 7.

The incident took place five miles across the Euphrates River near Deir ez Zoir, which serves as a "de-confliction" line between USA and Russian/Syrian backed forces.

"Those steps look increasingly as part of efforts to create a quasi-state on a large part of Syrian territory - from the eastern bank of the Euphrates River all the way to the border with Iraq". The U.S. military accepted the claim, while Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the whole affair "perplexing". The three-man crew was reportedly killed in the drone strike, while the US coalition suffered no casualties.

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