Family members of Russian military personnel killed in Syria in the line of duty have arrived in Damascus on Monday at the invitation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma, known for her charitable activities.
The Russians are expected to meet with the Syrian president and his family, as well as with Patriarch of Antioch John X and Grand Mufti of Syria Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun.
They will also meet with families of deceased Syrian military servicemen and deliver humanitarian aid to a boarding school for orphans. The group will also visit the Hmeimim air base to lay flowers to a monument to Russian military personnel killed in Syria.
According to a TASS correspondent, family members of five Russian military officers who lost their lives in the fight against terrorism, have arrived in the Syrian capital.
They include the parents of Hero of Russia Roman Filipov, who got shot down in a Sukhoi Su-25SM fighter jet, fought with militants on the ground and blew himself up with a hand grenade after having been seriously wounded.
The Russian delegation also includes the wife and children of Hero of Russia Marat Akhmetshin, a military adviser who was killed in a fight with members of the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia), trying to save his fellow soldiers.
Among the delegation members are the wife and son of Hero of Russia Oleg Peshkov, who ejected from his plane downed by a Turkish fighter jet over Syria but was killed by fire from the ground, as well as the wife and daughter of Colonel Valery Matveyev, who died during a hard landing of a Mil Mi-12 helicopter, and the daughter of nurse Nadezhda Durachenko, killed in a militant attack on a makeshift hospital in Aleppo.
Sources in the delegation said that the visit had been discussed at a meeting between Assad and Dmitry Sablin, the chairman of the United Russia party’s patriotic platform and the first deputy head of the Battle Brotherhood veterans organization, held in June 2018.
Children of deceased Russian and Syrian military personnel were earlier provided with an opportunity to spend time together at Russia’s Artek children’s center.
The delegation’s trip to Syria was organized by United Russia’s patriotic platform, the Battle Brotherhood organization and the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) group for ties with the Syrian parliament, with the support of the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries.