Russia Says Military Adviser Killed In Syria

The Russian Defense Ministry says a Russian military adviser has been killed in Syria.

In a statement on July 11, the ministry said that Captain Nikolai Afanasov was killed in a mortar attack in the western province of Hama.

It said Afanasov "was stationed in Syria with a group of Russian military advisers to train servicemen of the Syrian ground forces."

Afanasov's death raises to 32 the number of Russian soldiers killed in combat in Syria, according to the ministry.

Russia has had military advisers in Syria supporting President Bashar al-Assad's forces throughout the war in the Middle Eastern country, which began with a government crackdown on protesters in 2011 and has killed more than 400,000 people.

Russia launched a campaign of air strikes and stepped up its involvement on the ground in September 2015.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS