Russia says one of its servicemen has been killed in an attack by Takfiri Daesh terrorists in central Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday that Private Artyom Gorbunov had been killed near the ancient city of Palmyra, situated 215 kilometers northeast of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on March 2.
The statement said that the 24-year-old soldier “was guarding a group of Russian military advisers in the Syrian Arab Republic” at the time.
Gorbunov was later granted a posthumous state decoration. His death brought the total number of Russian casualties in Syria so far to 28.
Russia has been offering military help to the Syrian government since September 2015. The Russian military assistance, in the form of an aerial campaign and advisory support, came on a request from the government in Damascus, which has been fighting a foreign-backed militancy in the country since 2011.
Daesh first overran Palmyra in 2015. In March 2016, Syrian government forces liberated the city. However, they lost control over most of Palmyra again in mid-December 2016. Early this month, Syrian government forces, receiving Russian aerial support, once again established control over Palmyra, driving the terrorists out.
Syrian engineers are now examining the historic part of Palmyra, looking for mines and other hidden ordnance.
Also on Monday, Russian local media reported that another soldier, identified as Ivan Slyshkin, had been killed in a combat mission in Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry later announced that Slyshkin had not been on active duty.
Russia’s RBC news portal reported that Slyshkin was in Syria with a private Russian security company called Wagner’s Group.