Putin ally's private army behind attack on US-backed forces?

Man carries child among rubble in Eastern Ghouta

The official added that "it's striking how the Russians themselves have been quick to distance themselves" from what he described as an operation "under Syrian command and in response to Syrian directive".

Pentagon Spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN that "the addition of fifth-generation fighters into Syria would certainly not be in keeping with Russia's announced force drawdown".

Some relatives have said their loved ones were lured by the company's relatively high wages but were deceived into thinking they were going to work on construction projects.

The clash in Deir al-Zor Province appears to be the first time that US forces engaged directly with Russians in Syria, where Russian forces are backing President Bashar al-Assad's government in a devastating seven-year civil war.

It is still not clear whether or not Russian Federation has already used the jets for fighting in Syria, though ISI officials believe the jets have been used to collect intelligence. The coalition remains focused on the enduring defeat of ISIS. The photos of the Russian state-of-the-art fighter jet were made not far from Russia's air base in Hmeymim.

Putin ally's private army behind attack on US-backed forces?

The fifth-generation Su-57, also known as the T-50, has been created to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. "First stage state trials are over", Yuri Borisov, the deputy minister of defence, said earlier in February.

A failed cross-country skier from St. Petersburg, Russia, who once spent nine years in prison for robbery, Prigozhin rose from running a hot dog stand in the 1990s to owning an upscale restaurant frequented by Russian President Vladimir Putin and other members of the nation's political elite.

Russian Federation first deployed forces and aircraft to Syria in 2015, changing the dynamic as US and coalition troops began their air campaign against ISIS.

Analysts believe the latest deployment is likely to send a warning to countries such as the U.S. against intervention in Syria.

American Raptors have proved decisive in at least one encounter: in late 2017, a F-22 Raptor launched anti-missile chaff and flares near two Russian Su-25 ground attack jets that had intruded on American-controlled airspace. The U.S. believes the Russian mercenaries knew they were attacking a position held by the U.S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) rebels, but didn't know there were U.S. advisers at the site.

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