What the Russians left behind in Syria

March 31, 2016 by Adam Day

Now that Vladimir Putin has officially ended the Russian bombing campaign in Syria—where the main targets of his bombs were Syrian rebels, not ISIS—it has come to light that some of their normally secretive special operations forces have been committed to battle against the Islamic State itself.

What actually happened was that during the battle of Palmyra a Russian Spetsnaz soldier within their new special forces command (KSO) was killed in battle, left behind, and suffered the indignity of having photos of his body and equipment splashed all over the internet.

It’s not the type of photo you see very often, but it has made it impossible for the Russian’s to continue denying that their special forces are on the front lines of the conflict.

Kit2
Russian SOF equipment captured by IS in Syria.
Armanent Research Services
What’s interesting about the gear is how advanced it is: not only is there are a Garmin GPS, but the silenced AK-74M rifle has a thermal sight (and a backup red-dot sight) and there is even a 5.11 brand watch, an item popular with Western soldiers as well.

Michael Kofman is an analyst specializing in Russian military operations. He told The Washington Post that “Russian special forces are doing a lot of the targeting for Russian airstrikes and a lot of advising for the Syrians.”

Which of course sounds a lot like the advise-and-assist mission that Canadian special operations troops are also undertaking against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Click here for an amazing run-down of all the equipment carried by this operator.


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