— A Russian military
adviser died in a hospital in Syria
on Feb. 1 after suffering severe wounds when a Syrian Army training center in Homs Province
was shelled, a Russian military spokesman said Thursday.
In an interview with the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, refused to give the adviser’s name, citing security reasons. Four Syrian Army cadets were killed in the same mortar barrage by Islamic State militants, he said.
“A Russian military adviser in Syria was helping the Syrian Army learn how to use the new armaments, delivered under existing contracts of military-technical cooperation,” the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told the Russian news agency Interfax on Wednesday.
President Vladimir V. Putin ordered an air campaign to bolster his embattled Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, at the end of September. Russian officials have repeatedly insisted that the airstrikes target Islamic State terrorists and that no ground operation will take place.
Critics say that Russian attacks are directed exclusively against insurgents opposed to the Syrian government and that their fundamental aim is to preserve Russia’s influence in the region.