I want to stress once again, they were not Russian servicemen."
Moscow (ANTARA News) - Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday that five Russian nationals were preliminarily confirmed to have been killed in Syria in clashes with the U.S.-led coalition last week.

"According to preliminary data, as a result of the armed conflict, the causes of which are being clarified, and five people, presumably Russian citizens, could have been killed," Zakharova said in a briefing.

She said that others were injured, but details of their nationalities are being checked.

The spokeswoman underlined that reports about large-scale casualties among the Russian troops are a "classic disinformation."

"I want to stress once again, they were not Russian servicemen," Zakharova said, adding that there were many people of various nationalities with different purposes in Syria`s conflict zones and that it was hard to trace all of them.

Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry said a pro-government militia unit conducted a reconnaissance and search operation on Feb. 7 in the vicinity of an oil refinery in the province of Deir al-Zour to identify and destroy a bandit group responsible for shelling government troop positions, and yet came under fire of the U.S.-led coalition and its local allies.

The coalition claimed that it carried out airstrikes against "Syrian pro-regime forces" that launched an "unprovoked attack" on Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces` headquarters and killed an estimated 100 militiamen.

It is the first time that Moscow officially admitted that Russian citizens were killed in a clash with the U.S.-led coalition in Syria.

Reporter: Tia Mutiasari
Editor: Priyambodo RH
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