15:52 GMT +323 February 2018
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    Russian army servicemen at the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria

    Kremlin Not Ruling Out Presence of Russian Citizens Apart From Military in Syria

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that he didn't rule out that Russian nationals, who do not belong to the Russian Armed Forces, could be in Syria.

    “We do not have specific detailed information that would allow us to draw any conclusions. It cannot be ruled out that citizens of the Russian Federation may be in Syria. They do not belong to the armed forces — this is all that can be stated. But in any case, they remain, citizens of the Russian Federation,” Peskov told reporters.

    At the same time, a source from the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier in the day that the information circulated by media outlets about “hundreds” of Russian citizens killed in the US-led coalition’s strike in Syria was a classic example of disinformation.

    “The information disseminated by Bloomberg and other [media outlets] about dozens and hundreds of [Russian nationals] killed in Syria is a classic disinformation,” the source told reporters.

    Last week, US Central Command announced that the coalition conducted what it described as "defensive airstrikes" against pro-government forces near the Euphrates River as a response to an alleged attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters. The airstrikes have reportedly resulted in the death of at least 100 pro-government troops.

    Damascus has slammed the attack as "a new act of aggression that constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity," while the Russian Defense Ministry said that the attack showcased that the real goal behind Washington's "illegal military presence in Syria" was control over the country's economic assets rather than defeating Daesh.

    READ MORE: Over 30,000 People Attend Funeral for Russian Pilot of Downed Su-25 Jet in Syria

    At the same time, media reports emerged the day before, alleging that a large number of Russian mercenaries had been killed in airstrikes. So far, the death of one Russian citizen Kiril Ananyev from an activist group "Another Russia" has been reported by the organization's coordinator.

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    citizens, airstrike, Russian Foreign Ministry, Syria, Russia
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