Scores of troops, mostly a mix of Russians and Ukrainians fighting on the side of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, stormed the base held by USA and Kurdish forces in the Deir Ezzor region, Bloomberg News reported.
He said: "They are, in essence, special troops of the Russian army - despite the fact that mercenaries and private military companies are officially banned in Russia". He said the US should use its influence with its allies to reduce violence rather then encouraging them to boycott Russian-sponsored peace efforts.
But it comes after news hundreds of Russian mercenaries were reportedly killed by US-backed forces last week.
A Syrian military officer said that about 100 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the fighting on February 7 and 8, but news about Russian casualties has dribbled out only slowly, through Russian news organizations and social media.
Neither the Kremlin nor the Russian Ministry of Defense talks about private military contractors in Syria. However, the dynamic nature of the field of battle can not be disputed by either side where troops from countries with conflicting interests often bump into each other increasing the chances of the escalation of an all-out war with each other.
It's important to note that the U.S.is operating in Syria as an occupying force without any global mandate, whereas the Russian military is operating in Syria at the behest of the Syrian government, as recognized by the United Nations.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, blamed Iran for the latest round of fighting and said advisers from the Islamic Republic and its ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah, planned on staying in Syria. And US and Russian military officials maintain daily contact to avoid battlefield mishaps. Beyond doubt is the ferocious scale of the USA attack on Feb 7, in response to what the Pentagon called a barrage of artillery and tank fire from several hundred "pro-regime" fighters in Deir Ezzor province, an area in eastern Syria where the last IS fighters have converged among oil fields.
"The US government has been instrumental in the growth of [ISIS] and terrorism in the Middle East", said the statement, sent by the head of the Mission's press office, Alireza Miryousefi. Afghan war will cost B in 2018 U.S. expands air campaign to northern Afghanistan Mattis defends plans for new nuclear capabilities MORE described the attack as "perplexing". The ministry added that they came under attack while conducting a reconnaissance operation that was not coordinated with the Russian side.
The Russian Foreign Ministry says that five Russians who were not military personnel may have been killed in a clash with US -led forces in Syria last week and claims that reports putting the Russian death toll in the dozens or hundreds were "disinformation".
On Wednesday, February 14, Dmitry Peskov, the Russian Presidential Press Secretary, answered journalists' question on status of Syrian fighters during a conference relating to deaths of Russians as a result of US -backed shelling in Syria.
"We are on the brink of unsafe and worrying escalation of violence", de Mistura said.
One of the Russians killed was Kirill Ananyev, his friend told CNN.
The US and Russian militaries have de-confliction channels to prevent accidental clashes in Syria and alert each other to movements. Those claims couldn't be verified.
Top Photo | Russian soldiers walk outside a hospital in Deir el-Zor, Syria, Sept. 15, 2017.