Former Donbas separatist commander Igor Strelkov, with reference to his own sources, reported the loss of numerous Russian soldiers in Syria.
On his page on the social network Vkontakte, Strelkov cited the evidence of several sources who have fought in Syria
Strelkov’s first source has fought as part of the Wagner private military company, and has recently returned from Syria.
“According to him, in the last week three people in his platoon were killed and many were wounded,” Strelkov states.
Strelkov claims that one of his former subordinates is in hospital, wounded in Syria while he fought as part of the Wagner Group.
“And there [in the hospital] he isn’t simply ‘not alone’ - each week several people arrive. A particularly large number have arrived in the last two,” Strelkov explained.
“I know from a third source that [according to estimates] over the last two weeks, the loss of ‘official soldiers’ is around 20, and the Wagner Group has lost more than three times as many. And this is ‘the minimum estimate’,” Strelkov claims.
“Such losses of regular soldiers and mercenaries (who are essentially the same contractors) have been caused by the dramatic increase in battles against ISIS in the Deir ez-Zor region and Mayadin, where the Wagner Group is being used for assault divisions (the Syrians just ‘run errands’), as well as by militant attacks in the Hama province, where the Wagner Group has to rescue the military police divisions who are ‘getting into trouble’. Losses are also being taken in ambushes on communications and in fights to unblock the city of Al-Sukhnah, which is partially surrounded by militants, and in the region of the ISIS-captured city of Al-Quartyan. Everywhere, apart from (and often instead of) Syrians, Russian ‘cannon fodder’ is being used. In the same land battles which our unrespectable president promised to avoid entirely at the start of the Syrian escapade,” Strelkov continues.
The Russian blogger el Murid (Anatoly Nesmiyan) writes that such losses are unsurprising. In his opinion, Russia is getting increasingly involved in the ground operation in Syria.
According to Nesmiyan, the Syrian forces are virtually incapable of carrying out the ground operation, and so Russia does it for them.
“In reality, the assaults at all the hot points of the Syrian war are made by Russian military forces, and even special forces are being sent into battle more frequently, and infantry as regular line divisions. There are no longer any other ways to ensure the outcome,” he writes.
“This being the case, the Syrians themselves have already simply stopped fighting. The militants’ online resources are full of videos and photographs of fleeing Syrian soldiers, and of course, most of the failures in the south and in Hama are related to the widespread flight of local soldiers at the slightest sign of danger… Which results in Russia getting involved in the war in its ground phase. Nobody remembers Putin’s solemn assurances that there will be ‘no ground operations’. He lies so often and so much that one more lie or one less lie makes little difference,” Nesmiyan concludes.