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Russian Special Forces Officer Said Killed, Seventh To Die In Syria

Russian news agencies reported on March 24 that a Russian special forces officer was killed while directing air strikes near the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

"While performing a special task to direct Russian air strikes onto terrorist targets, a Russian special forces officer was killed," Interfax quoted a source at Russia's Hmeimim air base as saying.

"The soldier died heroically, calling the strike onto himself after he was discovered and surrounded by terrorists," Interfax's source said.

TASS and RIA Novosti also reported the death. There was no detail about when the officer died, with Interfax's source only saying "in the past week."

The death brings to seven the number of Russian servicemen reported killed in Syria during the Kremlin's five-month military campaign, which it started winding down last week.

Russia disclosed the presence of special forces troops in Syria for the first time on March 23. Before that, Moscow said its role in Syria was limited to carrying out air strikes, protecting Russian bases, advising and training the Syrian army, and performing search and rescue operations for downed aircraft.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

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