MOSCOW, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A Russian soldier, described as a military adviser, was killed in Syria, the Russian government said Thursday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the soldier was not involved in combat operations in Syria, but did not disclose his name or rank. Russian media reported he was killed in the city of Salma, near the Syrian-Turkish border, which Syrian troops captured in January. A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry said the soldier was killed Monday in a mortar attack by Islamic State forces.
The unidentified adviser was the third announced Russian fatality since Russia began its involvement in Syria in September 2015, supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army with airstrikes on rebel positions.
The death of the Russian was announced as Turkey stepped up its criticism of Russian airstrikes in Syria. Noting peace talks were suspended Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, as Russian airstrikes accelerated in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a statement Thursday while visiting Peru, commented, "Russia is continuing to kill people in Syria. Could there be such a peace gathering?"