MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Dozens of Russian and CIS citizens were hurt in a recent skirmish in Syria and some were killed but these were not Russian troops, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
"As was noted, there are Russian nationals in Syria who have come there of their free will and for different goals. It is not for the Foreign Ministry to assess the legitimacy and legality of such decisions they have made," the statement reads.
"At the same time, considering that these are Russian citizens staying abroad, we would like to note the following: during the recent armed clash, in no way were military servicemen from the Russian Federation involved, nor was any of their army-issued hardware used. There are citizens of Russia and the CIS countries among those killed, which had been earlier reported, and there are also wounded individuals - several dozen of them," the ministry said in a comment.
"They were given assistance for their return to Russia where, as far as it is known, they are being treated at medical establishments," the ministry said.
The CBS TV Channel claimed in early February that Russians were among the Syrian pro-government forces, which allegedly attacked the headquarters of the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces near the village of Khusham in the province of Deir ez-Zor on February 7. The US-led coalition delivered air and artillery strikes on these pro-government fighters.
As Russia’s Defense Ministry announced earlier, the Syrian militia fighters came under the coalition’s strikes in the province of Deir ez-Zor on February 7 due to actions uncoordinated with the Russian military. As a result, 25 militiamen were wounded. There are no Russian military servicemen in that area, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.