Russian infantry forces, supported by air force and artillery units have launched their first ground operations inside Syrian territory, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The report says that “Russian forces have already taken over multiple strategic positions and have forced numerous rebel battalions to retreat”
If the report is correct, it could signify a dramatic shift in Russian policy unless this is merely a one-time specific action.
Russia insider reports:
Citing a Kuwaiti daily, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that Russia has begun ground operations in Syria — and is currently helping to hold recent territorial gains made by Syria’s army against “moderate” rebels (yes, that includes ISIS). The report claims that:
Russian military forces have been providing cover for T-90 tanks along with military air support which have attacked multiple strategic targets held by rebel forces in Idlib and Latakia.
In September, multiple US officials claimed that Russia had positioned about a half dozen tanks at a Syrian airfield at the center of a military buildup.
One US official said seven Russian T-90 tanks were observed at the airfield near Latakia, a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Kuwaiti report adds that Russian forces have already taken over multiple strategic positions and have forced numerous rebel battalions to retreat. The report did not disclose whether there were Russian army casualties.
Iran’s state-controlled Fars news agency is also reporting this story — an interesting move, considering Iran’s close military cooperation with Russia in Syria.
The reality is that there is almost certainly some level of Russian involvement on the ground against ISIS and its “moderate” partners in crime. It could be a handful of Russian military advisors, or limited special operations carried out by Russia’s elite forces. Or, as this report claims, it’s possible that Russian forces have begun to help Syria consolidate gains made possible by Russia’s devastating air campaign.
According to Assad, Syrian forces are advancing on “almost” all fronts — and they probably need help holding these positions.
The truth, whether we want to admit it openly or not, is that no war can be won from the air. You need boots on the ground. But are they Russian boots? According to this new report, some of them are.
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