At least 40 Russian soldiers and private contractors have been killed fighting in Syria so far this year, a steep jump from 2015 and 2016, Reuters reports. According to Russia’s defense ministry, only 10 Russian servicemen have been killed in the Syrian civil war in 2017, but Reuters interviews with families and friends of the dead, as well as local officials, projects the higher estimate over the past seven months. Only six Russian fighters were killed in Syria in 2015, and 30 more were killed in 2016, according to Reuters data. Russia has delved deeper into the conflict in recent years, and it does not openly acknowledge that it has hired private contractors to fight with its army in the Syrian civil war, which could account for some of the discrepancy in its admission of casualties.
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