In this file photo taken on Saturday, June 18, 2016, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, center, visits the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP, file)
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Here's what you need to know about the Russian army's presence in Syria.The precise number of Russian troops fighting in Syria is not known.Putin ruled out dispatching ground troops in Syria, making the air force the mainstay of Moscow's Syria campaign. Officials have also acknowledged the presence of Russian advisers and military police in Syria.Independent Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer said up to 10,000 Russian troops and private contractors could have been deployed to Syria.He suggested that Russia had between 4,000 and 5,000 Russian military servicemen in Syria including personnel at Russia's air base in Hmeimim, a stronghold of President Bashar Assad in northwest Syria, and the Tartous naval facility.Around 40 Russian servicemen have reportedly been killed in Syria since Moscow's intervention.
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