Russia has special forces unit in Syria, says senior officer

Russia keeps special forces unit in Syria to perform reconnaissance and 'other special tasks,' state-run newspaper quoted senior military officer in Syria as saying

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Russian air force personnel stand near a Russian war plane at Hemeimeem airbase, Syria.

Russia has a special forces unit in Syria that fulfills reconnaissance and "other special tasks," state-run newspaper Rossiisskaya Gazeta quoted Alexander Dvornikov, a senior Russian military officer in Syria, as saying.

According to the newspaper, Dvornikov said, "I will not hide the fact that on the territory of Syria there is a division of our special operations forces."

"They perform supplementary reconnaissance on targets for Russian air strikes, they are engaged in guiding aircraft to targets in remote areas, and perform other special tasks."

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously ordered Russian military to withdraw most of its fighting forces from Syria, signalling an end to Russia’s air campaign.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Wednesday that the withdrawal of the main part of the Russian armed forces in Syria would not weaken the Assad regime.

UK PM calls on Russia to stop attacks on Syrian moderates

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has urged Russia to stop attacks against Syrian moderates and called Moscow to focus on targeting the "common terrorist threat."

While speaking during a weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron said, "We want to work with everyone we can to combat terrorism."

"But particularly when it comes to what is happening in Syria, it is vitally important that the Russians stop any attacks and do not restart any attacks against moderate Sunnis and moderate Syrian opposition, which clearly have to form a part of that country."

British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP Archive)

Cameron underlined that terrorism cannot only be defeated by using guns and missiles.

Russian air strikes in Syria began on September 30 in support of Bashar al Assad. Despite initial Russian claims that the countries' forces were targeting DAESH, most of the Russian air strikes hit opposition-held regions. During its air campaign in Syria, Russia conducted about 9,000 sorties.

Various Syrian monitoring groups, media and social media sites, local and international NGOs along with news organisations said that Russia killed about 4,500 people in total in Syria of which approximately 2,000 were civilians.

TRTWorld and agencies