CIA director: ‘a couple of hundred’ Russians were killed in Syria a few weeks ago

During a Senate hearing for his confirmation as U.S. Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that “a couple hundred” Russians were killed in Syria a few weeks ago.

“A handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match. A couple hundred Russians were killed,” Pompeo said.

He mentioned the incident as an example of the U.S. administration’s actions aimed at containing Russia, along with the expulsion of 60 diplomats. The comment was in answer to a question about whether or not the White House would increase sanctions against Russia. The United States had not previously officially acknowledged that Russians were among those killed.

Pompeo most likely had in mind the battle that took place in the vicinity of Deir ez-Zor in Syria on the night of February 8. According to various media reports, dozens or hundreds of Russian mercenaries were injured or killed during the battle.

This battle was provoked by an attempt of a pro-Assad detachment to attempt to seize the headquarters of the Kurdish formations and an oil refinery controlled by the Kurds. In response, the U.S. military, which supports the Kurds, launched an air strike on the attackers.

Afterwards, the U.S. stated that more than a hundred pro-government militants were killed, but did not specify their nationality.

There is no official number of those who lost their lives.

At first, the Kremlin did not confirm the reports about those injured and killed. Later on, however, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that dozens had been wounded and taken to hospitals, and there were five possible fatalities.

  Der ez-Zor, Russian mercenaries, Syria, Russia