On Tuesday the Russian Foreign Ministry acknowledged what had been widely reported and rumored: dozens of former Soviet country citizens had been injured in a U.S. air strike on a large Syrian convoy in Deir Ez Zor province on February 7. The RuMFA denied that any active duty servicemen had been killed or wounded, and dismissed as 'disinformation' reports picked up by Reuters and Bloomberg that hundreds of 'Wagner' mercenaries had perished in the American air and artillery strikes. However, authentic looking footage of charred bodies and severely wounded being carried by Russian speaking men in uniforms was widely circulated online amidst numerous debunked fakes. Russian media outlets were able to identify at least eight combat deaths and an Associated Press reporter interviewed relatives of the deceased in a small town in the Urals, where several local men had gone to fight as paid volunteer combatants in Donbass or Syria.
While the skirmishing which led up to the major US attack on the local Syrian tribal 'ISIS hunters' and Russian PMCs remains murky, Russian sources suspect a set up by the Americans. That is, the Russian soldiers of fortune were attached to Syrian units which expected the local Kurds to easily hand over an oil and gas field, particularly with Kurdish fighters quitting the U.S. special forces-led positions around Deir Ez Zor province to go fight the Turks in Afrin. Instead, the Americans, after allegedly contacting the Russian military hotline at Kheimmim, and hearing that no Russian regulars were present with the Syrian tribal fighters battalion, dropped a hammer on it...which may have been the plan.Read More