The Latest: Russian military says soldier killed in Syria

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BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on Syria developments (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

The Russian military says one of its servicemen has been killed in fighting against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday that Pvt. Artyom Gorbunov was killed in action near Palmyra. Gorbunov was killed last Thursday, when Syrian troops backed by Russian air power recaptured the ancient town from the IS.

Gorbunov's death raised the total Russian combat casualties so far in Syria's war to 28.

The ministry said that Ivan Slyshkin, who also was reported killed in action in Syria, wasn't on active duty. Russia's RBC news portal reported that Slyshkin was in Syria with a private Russian security company called 'Wagner's group.'

Russia has conducted military operations in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces since September 2015.


5:10 p.m.

A newspaper says that a Russian general has been badly wounded in a militant attack in Syria.

The business daily Kommersant reported Monday that Maj. Gen. Pyotr Milyukhin lost both legs and an eye when militants blew up his vehicle with a remotely controlled land mine last month. It said the general has been evacuated to Moscow and is now in stable condition at a military hospital.

The Defense Ministry had earlier said that four of its servicemen were killed in the attack, but it hasn't reported that Milyukhin was wounded. The Feb. 16 attack came when a Russian vehicle carrying the general and his escort was traveling as part of a Syrian military convoy to the central city of Homs from the Tiyas air base.


12:25 p.m.

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have cut the main road between the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, which is controlled by the Islamic State group, and the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, which is partially controlled by IS.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says fighters from the Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces cut the road linking the two cities in the area of Jazra near Raqqa, the de facto capital of the IS self-declared caliphate.

SDF said in a statement Monday that its fighters captured seven area villages, enabling them to blockade the road.

SDF fighters have been on the offensive under the cover of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition since November as part of operation Euphrates Wrath, which aims to surround and capture Raqqa.

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