Though details are still scant on the overall size and scope of the force, Russian General Alexander Dvornikov confirmed that Russian special forces troops have been operating on the ground in Syria, saying they have played a key role in Russia’s operations there.
Gen. Dvornikov did not specify how many troops there were, saying it was a “division,” but did say they had been used to direct airstrikes and “pinpoint” targets for the air war, as well as other “special tasks.”
Russia has been removing its forces from Syria since last week, declaring its military goals to have been met. The remaining efforts have focused on retaking Palmyra, which appears to be the last major Russian operation, as they push Syria to focus on a peace settlement with the rebels.
Russia has confirmed five troops killed over the course of its Syrian operations, and reports are emerging today of a potential sixth. Bloggers are identifying Maj. Sergei Shupov, of the Russian Interior Ministry, as the sixth slain.