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Russian Military Death Toll In Syria Reaches 112, Lawmaker Says

Colonel General Viktor Bondarev last year when he was commander of the Russian Air Force.
Colonel General Viktor Bondarev last year when he was commander of the Russian Air Force.

The Russian military has lost 112 personnel in the Syrian civil war over the past three years, according to a senior lawmaker who heads a defense committee in Russia's parliament.

Nearly half of the total were killed in two incidents: 15 personnel died when a reconnaissance plane was shot down last month and 39 died in a transport plane crash earlier this year, the lawmaker said on September 30, according to Russian news agencies.

"Currently the losses of our armed forces in Syria have amounted to 112 people, almost half of which were claimed by the An-26 [transport plane] catastrophe and the downed Il-20," Viktor Bondarev, the former commander of Russian Aerospace Forces and chairman of the Defense and Security Committee in the Federation Council, was quoted as saying.

Despite the growing death toll, Bondarev claimed it compares favorably with the thousands of Russians killed during its 1980s war in Afghanistan and with the thousands of Americans killed after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Regarding equipment, Russia has lost a total of eight planes, seven helicopters, and one or two armored vehicles, Bondarev was quoted as saying.

Also fighting in Syria are an unknown number of Russians who are not directly employed by the state but who play a role in supporting Syrian government forces.

An independent monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported earlier this year that dozens of personnel from a Russian security contractor were killed amid coalition air strikes in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.

Based on reporting by dpa, TASS, and Interfax