When the first vehicle in the convoy suddenly blew up, the Russian mercenaries knew something was wrong.
Their objective, to capture an oil field in eastern Syria, was supposed to be a routine mission. The enemy they knew by then would have fled long ago at the sight of 500 battle-hardened Russian and Syrian fighters.
But instead, the attack had come to an abrupt halt and explosion after explosion shook the ground.
It wasn't long before AC-130 gunships, Predator drones, Apache helicopters and fighter jets were circling over the battlefield, pounding the attackers from every imaginable angle.
What the Russian forces didn’t know was that the oil field was not defended by any fighters, but by American Special Operations Forces, supported by the most powerful air force in the world.
And so, within a few minutes, the routine mission turned into hell on earth - and into one of the deadliest engagements for the notorious Russian mercenary group known as "Wagner".