MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no decision to classify information about casualties in Syria, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
"No, the president did not make such a decision. All we could say on this subject we have said already. We have nothing to add," Peskov stated.
In the wake of allegedly heavy Russian casualties in Syria Peskov on February 14 asked the media to avoid falling into the trap of distorted facts.
"We are asking you not to be guided by erroneous information - intentional or unintentional - and to take a serious attitude to describing such potentially important episodes so as not to fall into the trap of distorted facts," he said about media rumors many Russians were killed in Syria’s Deiz ez-Zor province on February 7.
In view of the lack of specific evidence Peskov said it was impossible to understand the question he heard from the media about the possibility of declaring a day of mourning over allegedly heavy Russian casualties in Syria on February 7. Also, Peskov said the Kremlin had no detailed information that would make it possible to say how many Russians were in Syria.
"It should not be ruled out that Russian citizens may be present in Syrian territory. They have nothing to do with the Russian Armed Forces. This is all that can be said. In any case Russian citizens will be Russian citizens regardless of anything," Peskov concluded.
Earlier, a source at the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS that Western media claims about tens and even hundreds of killed Russians in Syria were "classical disinformation."
The CBS television network last week claimed that Russian citizens were among the pro-government militias in Syria who on February 7 allegedly attacked the headquarters of the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces near Khusham in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Province. The US-led coalition dealt a strike against the pro-government groups.
The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier the Syrian militias in Deir ez-Zor province came under the coalition’s fire because they had not coordinated their operations with the Russian military. Twenty five militiamen were injured in the incident. There are no Russian military servicemen in that area, the Defense Ministry said.