Dozens of Russians Are Believed Killed in U.S.-Backed Syria Attack

“The tank had been maneuvering with coordinated indirect fire on a defensive position occupied by Syrian Democratic Forces and coalition advisers,” Colonel Dillon said. “The defensive position was within effective range of the hostile weapons systems.” Coalition officials had maintained regular contact with their Russian counterparts, he said, to avoid dangerous misperceptions or miscalculations.

The Kremlin — seeking to play down its involvement in the fighting in Syria and seemingly hoping to avoid escalating tensions with the United States — has sidestepped questions about the episode.

It has stressed repeatedly since last Wednesday that no members of the Russian armed forces were killed, and that any Russians fighting alongside the Syrians were mercenaries.

“We…

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