Senior Russian officer killed in Aleppo
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Senior Russian officer killed in Aleppo

Moscow says the colonel was in Syria as a military adviser; death brings Russian toll this week to 3

Smoke rises after rebel fighters launch a mortar shell on a residential neighborhood in west Aleppo, Syria, Monday, December 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Smoke rises after rebel fighters launch a mortar shell on a residential neighborhood in west Aleppo, Syria, Monday, December 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Russia said Wednesday that an army colonel working as a military adviser in Syria had died, several days after being wounded by rebel shelling in Aleppo.

“Ruslan Galitsky passed away in hospital as a result of his serious injuries. Russian army medics fought for several days to save his life,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

It said he was wounded in the shelling of a residential area in western Aleppo by the “so-called opposition.”

The statement said the colonel worked as a military adviser in the government-controlled part of city. While the extent of direct Russian involvement in ground fighting between Syrian-backed forces and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is unknown, Russia has been relentlessly bombing the city in a joint aerial campaign with the Syrian air force.

The fatality is Russia’s third this week, after two nurses were killed in a rocket attack on a makeshift Russian military hospital in Aleppo.

A Russian Sukhoi fighter jet also crashed on Monday while attempting a landing on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the second crash of a Russian warplane trying to land on the ship in the past month. No deaths were reported in either crash.

As of mid-November, 20 Russians had officially been killed in combat since Russia began its intervention in Syria in late 2015, with this week’s casualties bringing the number to 23. Reuters reported last month that numerous more Russians fighting in Syria as private military contractors have also been killed. Their deaths are not included in Russia’s official tally.

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