Russian President Vladimir Putin is serious about maintaining a presence in Syria, and his latest move is deploying a top secret Russian special forces unit referred to as that Zaslon Unit.
The Zaslon Unit is similar to Delta Force in that it compiles the best special forces operators in Russia, according to Business Insider.
An unnamed Russian senior defense official said the units being deployed are being shifted out of Ukraine and to Syria, which contradicts the Kremlin claim that no Russian troops were on the ground in Ukraine, according to Fox News.
The Zaslon Unit specializes in assassinations, VIP protection, and hostage rescue, according to HNGN. While it’s unknown what exactly the special forces units will be used for, it is believed that they will be used to increase bombing campaign capabilities against ISIS and anti-Assad rebels. (RELATED: Cuba Sends Top General And Soldiers To Aid Russia, Assad In Syria)
Robert Lee, a scholar at CAST, a defense industry think tank based in Moscow, feels that the presence of Russian special forces on the ground will greatly improve the efficiency of the Russian air campaign, saying, “The use of forward ground troops to draw fire from enemy positions makes the use of air power much more effective.”
Recently the American counter-part of the Zaslon Unit, Delta Force, conducted a nighttime hostage rescue mission in Iraq. It’s unclear how close the American and Russian units are in the region. (RELATED: Incredible Video Shows SpecOps Raid In Iraq That Killed Delta Operator)