Russian Lieutenant General Valery Asapov died as a result of ISIS shelling near Deir Ezzor on Septermber 23. He was 51 years old.
Asapov was at the Syrian checkpoint when it was bombarded by ISIS forces. Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation reports that Lieutenant General Asapov was helping the Syrian forces command the Deir ez-Zor liberation campaign, when he had been lethally wounded in a sudden ISIS attack.
During the 1990s, Asapov took part in restoring order in Chechnya. In 1995 he was an executive officer of a battalion at Grozny, where he was wounded in the leg. Later in Abkhazia he served in the peacekeeping troops, and after that back in Russia commanded a motorized rifle brigade in Eastern Military District.
The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine argues that in March 2016 he allegedly commanded the 1st Army Corps of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine. However, no proofs have been provided so far.
In Syria, he worked with the 5th Assault Corps of the Syrian Army. It’s one the main strike units of pro-government forces in Deir Ezzor city. It participated in clearing the road to the city, and then crossed the Euphrates River to its eastern bank where the majority of oil and gas infrastructure is situated.
“High prestige combined with care were outstanding features of his work,” Russia’s chief of general staff Valery Gerasimov said on Wednesday. “He worked as the chief of staff of the group of our forces and then was in command of the Fifth Corps of volunteers … A treacherous shell cut short his life.”
The Russian pro-opposition media outlet RBC allegedly reached a “close friend” of Asapov. According to him, the Lieutenant General was known to always try minimizing the amount of casualties of government forces troops during his service in Syria. The report also blamed the Syrian Intelligence Service for a low quality of the work on the ground that could create preconditions for Asapov’s death.
RBC also reached the Arm Export magazine editor-in-chief Andrei Frolov . Frolov believes that the casualties are growing because of a high speed of the operation in Deir Ezzor.
“The volume and intensity of firefights increase”, Frolov told to RBC. “Apart from Russian Aerospace Forces in the air, Russian military personnel help and consult the Syrian troops on the ground. Hence more general officers in the region, and consequently the chance of them dying increases,” he added.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, Lieutenant General Asapov is the 38th Russian soldier to die in Syria. They estimate that Deir Ezzor city will be liberated soon. Now the city is 85% under Syrian control.