The Russian Special Forces have played a key role in the offensive to recapture Aleppo.
“Russian special-operations forces have played a pivotal part in the Syrian ground offensive to retake Aleppo, a role shielded by secrecy about their operations there,” the Wall Street Journal newspaper wrote.
As the newspaper reported, citing some unnamed experts on Russia’s military, “in the wake of Russia’s punishing aerial bombardment, Russian special forces have been operating in Aleppo for almost two months, helping the Syrian army with a focus on targeting rebel leaders in the eastern half of the city.”
“Russia has rarely publicized the presence of their elite troops, preferring to present its involvement in Syria as largely limited to air support. Special Forces redeployed to Syria shortly after Russia launched its intervention in 2015. They came from Ukraine, where they were fighting on the side of pro-Russian rebels,” Thomas Grove, the author of the article, wrote.
“Russia is using [the Syrian conflict] as an opportunity to test and refine doctrine for these special-operation forces,” the newspaper quoted the words of Tor Bukkvoll, senior researcher at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.
According to the article, “Russian special-operations forces typically serve high-intensity operational deployments of a few months, a rotation schedule that is modeled on the U.S. military’s elite special-operations teams. The Russians have closely studied the American experience as part of a multibillion-dollar military modernization project that began earlier in the decade.”
The newspaper reminded about a trip of then chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, to the US in 2012. According to a source of the Wall Street Journal, the purpose of his visit was to “download Americans’ experience with special forces” and create a similar structure in Russia.
“From the helmets to the kit, they [the Russian Special Forces] look almost identical,” the newspaper quoted the words of a source, close to the Pentagon.