Monitor: 26 Syria regime, 9 Russian Federation fighters killed in IS attack

A Syrian army soldier makes his way in a tunnel reportedly previously used by rebel fighters in Jobar a mostly rebel-held area on the eastern outskirts of Damascus

The injured were immediately taken to a Russian military hospital, but two of them died there, it said.

Four Russian soldiers have been killed in fighting in eastern Syria, Russia's Defense Ministry said, although a war monitor said the death toll was believed to be twice as high.

Fighting erupted after several armed groups attacked an artillery battery belonging to Syrian government forces, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday, citing a defence ministry statement.

The worldwide group Conflict Intelligence Team said up to six Russian soldiers could have been killed in the attack, quoting social media reports of a funeral for a Russian soldier that took place in the Western Russian city of Smolensk this week.

Scores of military contractors have also died since Moscow began its intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad in September 2015.

After seven years of war, the Syrian government, backed by Russian and Iranian military muscle, now controls much of central Syria, including the second city, Aleppo.

Russian Federation is the main military backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country's seven-year civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

In the same area, IS fighters stormed three Syrian army checkpoints killing eight soldiers and captured five others, the group said in a statement.

A group of Russian private military contractors, who were helping Syrian and Russian forces in the drive against Takfiri terrorists in Dayr al-Zawr, were killed in early February when they came under attack by U.S. forces.

The jihadist group itself claimed it attacked regime forces in eastern Syria on Wednesday.

Four Russian servicemen have been killed in Syria as a result of shelling by militants, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

According to AFP, the Russian statement raised the official count of soldiers killed in Syria to 92.

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