On April 12, Mike Pompeo, the CIA director nominated to be US State Secretary, claimed that the US had killed up to 200 Russians in airstrikes conducted against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Euphrates Valley in February.
“In Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match. A couple hundred Russians were killed,” Pompeo told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing in Washington.
The US-led coalition carried out strikes on Syrian government forces in the Euphrates Valley, near the city of Deir Ezzor, on February 7. Since then multiple media outlets and “experts” have speculated that “hundreds” of “Russian fighters” (private military contractors) were allegedly killed in the strikes. However, the provided numbers were hardly confirmed by any evidence.
The April 12 remarks by Pompeo were the first public statement of a US top official arguing that these rumors are true. Syrian experts already described Pompeo’s claims as a propganda stunt, which clearly shows the growing tensions between the US and Russia over Syria.
Meanwhile, the US and its allies are still considering a possible attack on the Syrian government over the alleged chemical attack in Syria which took place in the town of Douma on April 7.