Social media photos provide proof Russian soldiers in Syria since April

This picture taken in Tartus, Syria, where a small Russian naval facility is based, was posted on social media by Eduard Lasenkon.

Despite official denials by Russia’s government, the country does apparently have troops on the ground in Syria.

Numerous images showing ‘boots on the ground’ — originally posted on social media accounts of military personnel – are now providing proof that Vladimir Putin has deployed troops to help support the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

Western leaders are livid over the photos, as they’ve called for Assad’s removal since civil war has devastated Syria over the last four years — forcing millions to flee their homes.

Young Russian soldiers and their family members have been posting pictures of the troops in different parts of the war-torn country — many of them at Russia’s small but longstanding Tartus naval facility. But the Russians say while they have long supplied weaponry to their Cold War ally, the naval resupply facility of Tartus is not designated a military base.

Many of the photos – some of which were taken in April—were posted on social media then immediately taken down after they started receiving too much attention.

Troops give a thumbs up and hold a Syrian flag in this picture taken in Tartus and posted online by Evgeny Dolgarev on May 9.
Troops give a thumbs up and hold a Syrian flag in this picture taken in Tartus and posted online by Evgeny Dolgarev on May 9.

Aside from Tartus, there are various images of Russian soldiers posing in the following cities: Homs, Latakia, Damask, Salamia, Hama, Aleppo, and al-Soda — also known as al-Sawda.

Putin’s press-secretary has denied reports by Western media that the Russian army is fighting in Syria. “The Russian side has never concealed the fact that it is sending military equipment to the Syrian authorities to help them fight terrorism,” said a foreign ministry spokeswoman.

While the images don’t prove Russians are directly involved in fighting, they do suggest Putin’s troops are on the ground in a number of locations.  It’s not just instructors going over there, but entire groups of Special Forces and Marines, according to the Daily Mail.

A video reportedly shot in Syria on August 23 during the battle of the port of Latakia shows an ultramodern Russian-made infantry combat vehicle. There are claims Russian speech is heard in the video, the Mail reports. The report concluded that “the Russian speaking crew, deployed in a new and ‘rare’ combat vehicle, was seeking to prevent Latakia from falling to Assad’s foes.”

https://youtu.be/IK0m9a6JJ80?t=1m57s

Latakia is a strategic fort, the biggest port in Syria. The international airport, which is also a military base, is located there as well.  Experts say, if Assad loses Latakia, he will soon lose the control of this key aviation base.

According to U.S. intelligence sources, Russia has set up an air traffic control tower and transported pre-fab housing units for as many as 1,000 personnel to an airfield serving Latakia.

There have also been reports of an increasing number of visits to Tartus, from a large assault landing ship and other Russian naval vessels.

Nikolai Filchenkov assault landing ship pictured in the Syrian port of Tartu on 2 September. It is believed to be carrying equipment from the 810th non-divisional marine brigade, based in Sevastopol in Crimea. One marine from the 810th posted his social media status as 'Gone to Syria'
Nikolai Filchenkov assault landing ship pictured in the Syrian port of Tartu on 2 September. It is believed to be carrying equipment from the 810th non-divisional marine brigade, based in Sevastopol in Crimea. One marine from the 810th posted his social media status as ‘Gone to Syria’

Moscow experts say if Putin is engaged in a covert build-up in Syria – as was the case in Ukraine — it could backfire.

Author

  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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