Russia's Defense Ministry has denied that any of its soldiers have died recently in Syria, after a report that three Russians were killed in fighting there.
In comments quoted by TASS, the Defense Ministry said: "In relation to reports appearing in foreign media about the alleged deaths in Syria of Russian soldiers, we assert: there have been no casualties among soldiers from Russia's armed forces in Syria."
Earlier on October 20, Reuters had quoted a senior pro-government military source in Syria as saying the Russians had been fighting alongside Syrian government forces when a shell hit their position in the coastal province of Latakia.
The pro-government source said that at least 20 Russians were at the post in the Nabi Younis area when the shell struck.
Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, told Reuters that his sources in the area had confirmed the deaths of Russians, but did not have a figure. He said he believed they were not regular Russian forces but volunteers.
Based on reporting by Reuters and www.ria.ru