A portrait of Russian contractor Maxim Kolganov, who was killed in combat in Syria, is pictured on a grave in his hometown of Togliatti, Russia, September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova
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The start of this year proved deadly for one unit of about 100 Russian fighters supporting President Bashar al-Assad's troops in northern Syria.In at least one case that Reuters uncovered, the family of a fighter killed in Syria received a payout of around $100,000 in compensation.When asked if the fighters in the group coordinated with the Russian Defense Ministry, Kapa promptly said: "Of course".According to two people who knew different fighters, they arrive in Syria via ships that land in the port of Tartous, leased by the Russian navy, or in military aircraft that land at Russia's Hmeimim air base in western Syria.According to Kapa, the small unit that included Kolganov and Morozov has lost four fighters since the start of the Russian campaign in Syria, including its commander, killed in the same firefight as Morozov.The doctor at the military hospital who spoke to Reuters said that the surgical department where he works had treated six or seven Russian fighters back from Syria with combat injuries who were not serving Russian servicemen.
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