File - In this file photo taken on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the troops at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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After a week of unanswered questions, Russia acknowledged Thursday that five of its citizens may have been killed by a U.S. strike in Syria, the first time Russians have died at U.S. hands in Syria's chaotic battlefield.Until Thursday, both Russian and U.S. officials said they had no information on Russian casualties in the Feb. 7 clash, which came when pro-Syrian government forces attacked positions of the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters in Syria's oil-rich eastern province of Deir al-Zor and faced a ferocious U.S. counterattack.The U.S. military has said it maintained contact with the Russian military in Syria before, during and after the Feb. 7 clash.Peskov Thursday denied that Putin had ordered information about Russian casualties in Syria to be kept from the public.In the Feb. 7 clash, the U.S. military said a battalion-sized formation backed by tanks and artillery attacked the U.S.-backed fighters and the U.S. responded by unleashing a broad range of air power.For more than three hours, American F-15E attack jets, B-52 strategic bombers, AC-130 gunships, Apache attack helicopters and Reaper drones fired on the attacking force, killing about 100 attackers and destroying an unspecified number of artillery guns and battle tanks, said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of U.S. air forces in the Middle East.
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