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"Russians killed in clash with U.S.-led forces in Syria" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2018 9:25 p.m. PST

"Russian fighters were among those killed when U.S.-led coalition forces clashed with pro-government forces in Syria this month, former associates of the dead said on Monday.

A U.S. official has said more than 100 fighters aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad died when coalition and local coalition-backed forces thwarted a large attack overnight on Feb. 7.

Russia's Defence Ministry, which supports Assad's forces in the Syrian civil war, said at the time that pro-government militias involved in the incident had been carrying out reconnaissance and no Russian servicemen had been in the area…."
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Cacique Caribe Inactive Member13 Feb 2018 6:07 a.m. PST

Something's fishy here. So why are these being labeled as Russian soldiers/advisors? Or are these just mercs?

If they were Russian military, and if they were that many that were killed, then I'm surprised Putin hasn't bombed the hell out of the rebels by now. He would have wiped them off the map, along with our US soldiers/advisors. And along with any US "volunteers" that may have gone over there to help locals fight ISIS.

What or who is Putin afraid of, if these were indeed part of his Russian military?

I wonder how many American "volunteers" and US military advisors have been killed by the Turkish military further north in Kurdish-held territory. Would they try to label these differently, just because Turkey is still part of NATO, I wonder?

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28mm Fanatik13 Feb 2018 7:37 a.m. PST

Governments keep quiet about such sensitive matters so they can disavow them. It's a shadow war that they do not want us to make a lot of noise about.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2018 8:30 a.m. PST

"…At least two Russian men fighting informally with pro-government forces were killed" – key word for me: "informally". That could mean deniably, and this might be a time to deny it. They were there against orders, not our fault, says the government, regardless of whether that's the case.

Not a good sign at all, but not a cataclysm. Russia has had a couple of other equally good chances to squabble with the US and hasn't. Unless there's a good reason to do so now they'll ignore this.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2018 9:15 a.m. PST

Wasn't Russian and USA authorities in contact with the pourpose to avoid this encounters?….


28mm Fanatik13 Feb 2018 9:47 a.m. PST

Wasn't Russian and USA authorities in contact with the purpose to avoid this encounters?….

In an official capacity, yes. It's called "deconfliction." But both the US and Russia have fighters (spec ops mostly) in Syria in a secret "shadow war" backing opposing sides that neither government wants to officially admit involvement to so there's "plausible deniability."

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member13 Feb 2018 10:57 a.m. PST

Their orders self-destruct in 15 seconds.


zoneofcontrol Inactive Member13 Feb 2018 11:09 a.m. PST

The US Senate Intelligence Committee met this morning and received a briefing from the major law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies and this was discussed. The number they put out was around two hundred. (The question asked was specifically Russian casualties.) That seems high unless you take in the possibility that they may have been caught in their transports. It is doubtful that they were "troops", but rather more likely Russian mercs or contractors. The attacking force was caught consolidating and got hit hard, really hard, by artillery and a variety of air assets. Media reports say something in the order of 20% personnel casualties and a much large percentage of equipment and vehicle losses.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member13 Feb 2018 12:01 p.m. PST

Lol. Is this the same committee that acted all shocked to find out that thousands of our soldiers are missing?

(Found it: TMP link )

And was anything of that mystery ever resolved after the members got their dramatic 15 minute media op?


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2018 8:28 p.m. PST

Pentagon defends airstrike that reportedly killed 'dozens' of Russian mercenaries in Syria

"The Pentagon on Tuesday defended an airstrike on pro-Syrian government forces last week that reportedly killed "dozens" of Russian mercenaries.

Reports have suggested more than 100 fighters supporting the regime led by Syrian President Bashar Assad were killed Feb. 7 in Syria's Deir al-Zor province when they attacked U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, who are fighting ISIS.

"This was self defense," Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said at a news briefing Tuesday. "This is a hostile force launching an unprovoked, coordinated attack … against an established SDF position."…."
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Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2018 9:58 p.m. PST

Crazy. It seems like the Russians knew that group was going to get heavily hit. So it must not have been under their direct control. Or they thought that group would fare better? I look forward to getting the whole story in book fifteen years form now…

Personal logo Ironwolf Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member13 Feb 2018 11:56 p.m. PST

Russia did the same thing in the Ukraine with their volunteer force of Russian soldiers. The few that were captured claimed they were Russian soldiers that were paid extra money to volunteer for service in the Ukraine.

Tgunner14 Feb 2018 2:33 a.m. PST

Notice their use of Russian "servicemen" too. Not Russians, but servicemen.

I have a rough time believing that there's a battalion of the guys out there, but I can picture a number in advisory roles supporting a battalion sized element. I bet the military caught their chatter from radio intercepts and that's why the US is claiming Russian involvement.

It would suck for them if they are active duty and are caught up in "plausible denial".

Daniel S14 Feb 2018 7:16 a.m. PST

So far I have seen no Russian reports that these were regular soldiers of the Russian armed forces, rather the suggestion is that the men in the employ of a PMC such as the Wagner Group. The number killed varies greatly with everything from just a few to over 600 being reported by diffrent sources all of which lack supporting evidence. I find it likely that some contractors were present but am doubtfull about the claims of several hundred being present, let alone killed.

There are several oil wells in the SDF controlled area and it is likely that these were the target of the push across the line. Either as a rouge operation to size the wells and their income or as way for the Kremlin to test US resolve with plausible deniability if the Kurds & US troops stood their ground.

Tgunner14 Feb 2018 12:08 p.m. PST

But I could be wrong. This article supports that there were significant numbers of Russian fighters in this action. They took some serious losses with some of the wounded being transported back to Russia for treatment.


I found these two paragraphs interesting.

The death toll from the skirmish, already about five times more than Russia's official losses in Syria, is still rising, according to one mercenary commander who said by phone that dozens of his wounded men are still being treated at military hospitals in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Most of those killed and injured were Russian and Ukrainian, many of them veterans of the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, according to Alexander Ionov, who runs a Kremlin-funded group that fosters ties to separatists and who's personally fought alongside pro-government forces in Syria.

Ive never heard of Alexander Ionov, but he appears to be one of the sources for this article.

Tgunner16 Feb 2018 2:12 a.m. PST

I guess this is a sort of conformation.


Barin121 Feb 2018 3:01 a.m. PST

Took me some time to dig through the information and misinformation on the accident.
Official death toll is 4, opposition newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" says 16, with 4 confirmed by meeting with their relatives. Hundreds of losses look like initial hype, and include total losses of the operation from total forces.
Today there's a large interview with former PMC, who is shedding some light on what has happened, and Russian PMC in general.
What he is saying (and it is also a version of opposition newspaper) that the purpose of the attack was a particular oil field, currently in the posession of Syrian Kurds. The mercs were hired by Russian businessman Prigozhin, so the claim that it wasn't authorized by Russian military looks true. They didn't have recon support or air cover and some of their artillery was WWII M-30 howitzers.
The interviewed guy said that attacking kurds was a very bad idea, as Vagner is actively involved in Iraq Kurdistan, guarding both local-owned oil wells and those, belonging to Lukoil. He considered Kurds to be one of the best employers (so looks like Kurds were using PMC for many years).
PMC are illegal in Russia by law, but due to top level connections they still operate ( and it seems that can be hired by Russian corporations abroad for patrol or guard duties, if they mask themselves as just Private Guard Service).
The guy complained that due to influx of mercs from Africa and Latin AMerica, the rates dropped a lot, so in order to get the deal, the commanders are cutting the prices and then hire various scum, and those who has little or no military experience at all.
He also said that most of the stuff these guys are doing on regular base is non-combat operations – surveillance, guard duties, installation of engineering defence lines, etc.
Also said that a chain of attacks on hotels and locations and foreign personnel in Afghanistan are due to the push local government executed on "normal" PMC, so they could replace them with locals. ALso said that Afghanistan and to some extent Iraq are heavily regulated now in regards to weapons PMC can use.
Nothing like this in Ukraine, Sudan, or Syria.

It was an interesting read…

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2018 10:27 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it Barin 1… and many thanks for your guidance… (smile)


USAFpilot21 Feb 2018 5:32 p.m. PST

I think that the people who need to know what happened, know. A very clear message was sent. No political talk about 'red lines'; just a very decisive action.

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