May 11, 3:39 PM EDT

Russian soldier dies in Syria after shelling by militants

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MOSCOW (AP) -- A Russian soldier has died in Syria, the Russian military's ninth casualty since the start of the Syrian campaign.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Anton Yerygin was fatally wounded in a shelling by militants in the Homs province and later died in a hospital. It said the shelling occurred as he was escorting a convoy of vehicles of the Russian Center for Reconciliation, whose task is to help cement a Russian- and U.S.-brokered cease-fire.

The cease-fire that began on Feb. 27 has helped reduce hostilities, but fighting has continued in some areas.

Yerygin is the ninth Russian serviceman who has died in Syria, according to Russian official statements. Six died of enemy fire, two were killed in a helicopter crash and one killed himself.

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