63 thousand Russian soldiers took part in the military operation in Syria, launched by Russia on September 30, 2015, stated the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on Wednesday, August 22 in a video posted on YouTube. 434 generals and about 26,000 officers were among them. According to the Ministry’s information, all commanders of the military districts, commanders of the Air Force and Air Defense divisions, and 95 percent of the commanders of combined arms brigades and regiments were part of the Russian contingent in Syria.
As reported in the video, 4349 experts of the Missile Forces and Artillery, 87 percent of the operational-tactical crew, 91 percent of the army and 97 percent of the Military transport aviation, as well as 60 percent of the strategic and long-range aviation crew participated in the military actions in Syria. During the military intervention in Syria, the Russian army tested 231 new weapons and its aviation carried out 39,000 combat missions.
During his visit to Syria on December 22, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. However, a significant number of Russian military forces are present in Syria to this day and participate in military operations in support of the President Assad regime.
The video does not say anything about the losses of Russian troops in Syria. According to the official Russian data, from the beginning of the operation until May 2018, 47 Russian soldiers were killed in Syria. At the same time, the Defense Ministry considers the death of soldiers of the regular army as losses. However, in March 2018, the AN-26 transport aircraft crashed when landing at the military air base Khmeimim, all 39 servicemen on board died. According to the ministry, this happened for technical reasons.
On the other hand, only in the year of 2017, Reuters reported the death of more than 130 Russian mercenaries from private military companies, including Wagner's WTC. In February this year, because of a clash with the U.S. military, according to various sources, between several dozen and several hundred Russian mercenaries were killed in Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry later reported about the "dozens" of wounded and dead citizens of Russia and CIS countries who went to Syria "on their own and with different purposes." The Russian authorities have not yet confirmed that there are Russian private military units operating in Syria. There are no Russian laws regulating PMCs.