MOSCOW (Reuters) – An official document seen by Reuters shows that at least 131 Russian citizens died in Syria in the first nine months of this year, a number that relatives, friends and local officials say included private military contractors.

A death certificate of Russian private military contractor Sergei Poddubniy number 131 reading he died in Tiyas, Homs province, of “carbonization of the body” on September 28, which was issued by the Russian consulate in Syria, is pictured in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia October 21, 2017.

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