A fresh series of photos has appeared online showing alleged Russian-linked private military contractors near the government-controlled city of Khanasir in the Syrian province of Aleppo. The photos have been allegedly made south of Khanasir. On December 20, an intese fighting between pro-government forces and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) was reported near this area.
The photos show a Russian-made BPM-97 Vystrel 4×4 wheeled mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle and two fighters with the patches of the so-called Turan group.
Turan is often refered as “USSR Spetsnaz”, with most members coming from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The group has own uniforms and is reported to be about 1,000 men strong. According to reports, Turan operates in a close coordination with the Syrian Arab Army and other pro-government factions and often takes part in regular battles against the terrorists.