AM News: US Pilots Complain of ‘Close Calls’ with Russia in Syria; Russian Defense Minister Claims Work of International Coalition ‘Null”

January 10, 2017
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on January 10, 2017. Photo by

LIVE UPDATES: US Pilots complain about ‘near misses’ with Russian planes over Syria. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu characterizes the work of the International Coalition in Syria as “null”.

The previous issue is here.

Recent Analysis and Translations:

How Many Russians Are Fighting for ISIS? A Brief History of The Kremlin’s Arbitrary Numbers
State TV Video Shows Russian Special Forces Fighting on the Ground in Syria, Supposedly Killing ISIS
An In-Depth Examination Of Donald Trump’s Ties To Russia And Vladimir Putin
Anna Politkovskaya’s Last Interview to the Regional Russian Press On Day of Her Murder


24th Russian Soldier Confirmed as Killed in Syria

A soldier from Tatarstan has been confirmed by his local draft board as having been killed in Syria, reported. His death brings to 24 the total of officially-recognized military deaths in Syria, although many dozens more are reported to have been killed who have not been acknowledged.

The news of the death of Marat Akhmetshin, a captain and gunner, in Palmyra in June 2016 was publicized only on December 7, 2016, when the the city government of Novo-Savinovsky District in Kazan, Tatarstan issued a degree posthumously awarding Akhmetshin the “Hero of Russia” medal at a ceremony in School No. 113. A local news site,, published the story of Akhmetshin and his wife and children, but the article has now been removed. An archived copy can be seen here.

According to Guzel Akhmetshina, Marat’s wife, who was interviewed by Shakhrikazan, he was sent on assignment in April of last year, and telephoned his wife from an unfamiliar number which turned out to be in Syria. She later learned he was killed June 5 near Palmyra, but she doesn’t know how. His funeral took place in August. She has posted several articles about her husband on Odnoklassniki, the Russian social network.

His death, if it did take place in June, occurred after Russia claimed to have already taken control of the city of Palmyra and even had a Russian orchestra play there in May.

The last soldier to be officially reported as killed in Syria was Capt. Ruslan Galitsky. As we reported last week, the Russian OSINT analysts at CITeam reported the deaths of three other soldiers in Syria that have not been officially acknowledged.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

US Pilots Complain of ‘Close Calls’ with Russia in Syria; Russian Defense Minister Claims Work of International Coalition ‘Null”.

Russian breakfast foods by Antonida Pashnida/RosBalt

The ruble is trading at 60.23 to the dollar and 63.59 to the euro. Brent crude is selling for $53.75 per barrel. 

What We’re Reading