A Russian major general Vyacheslav Gladkih was killed and two servicemen wounded when an improvised explosive device went off near a Russian convoy in eastern Syria on Tuesday, news agencies quoted the defense ministry as saying.

The improvised explosive device went off on a convoy of Russian troops en route from Deir er-Zor province in eastern Syria to Moscow’s Hmeimim military base further west.

Thousands of Russian troops are deployed across Syria in support of its army. Moscow’s military intervention in 2015, four years into the Syrian conflict, helped keep President Bashar Assad in power and started a long, bloody reconquest of territory lost to rebels in the early stages of the war.