A Russian military adviser, Nikolay Afanasov, has been killed as a result of mortar shelling from militants in Hama province, the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.

The captain was tasked with training Syrian ground forces. He was granted a state decoration posthumously.

According to official statements, 34 Russian military servicemen have been killed since the start of the operation in Syria.

Meanwhile, according to some sources, a notable number of Russian private military contractors also operate in the country. A total number of casualties among them is unknown.

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