At the official request of the Syrian government, the Russian Air Force (RUAF) began conducting airstrikes against Islamist fighters, and their military assets, in September, 2015. Russia has also deployed special forces and military advisers to Syria, helping organize and train pro-government forces, and carry out operations on the ground.

Some analysts believed that Russia was making a mistake by directly entering the Syrian conflict, with the failures of the Soviet-Afghan War coming to mind. However, President Vladimir Putin, and his military advisers, have perfectly managed and limited their involvement, while still allowing the Syrian Army to score territorial gains.

Despite the Syrian Army’s progress, several key provinces remain under the control of terrorist organizations. A large-scale, Russian ground force would inevitably catalyze progress on the ground.


I recently conducted a small, 24 hour twitter poll, asking Should Russia Deploy Ground Troops to Syria (to Directly Fight Terrorist Groups?). 58% of the 1,653 votes were in favor of a large Russian force being deployed to Syria.

It seems that many people wanted Russia to scale up its involvement, as it would end the Syrian conflict in a shorter period of time – they probably weren’t considering the escalation from a Russian strategic position.

Ultimately, airstrikes and a small, specialized ground force, has proven to be a potent combination, which has successfully decreased the power of Islamist groups in Syria, while limiting Russian causalities.

Author’s Twitter Username: @SulimanM98

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  1. Escalating the air operations would be more than enough.
    Let’s analyse the armament of Su-34 :
    I think anyone can notice the options :
    AB-500 : either 12 or 16x500kg bombs, according to the used racks
    AB-250 : 22x250kg bombs
    AB-100 : 34x100kg bombs
    Since 2015, Russia produces the KAB-250 250kg guided bomb :
    And the KAB-100 100kg guided bomb.
    Thus, the average 37 strikes per day Russia has done since the beginning of their intervention could nearly be done by a single Su-34 mission.
    Actually, it’d also be possible to carry 120 S-8 or 30 S-13 rockets and the Ugroza kit makes them precision guided munitions. S-8 has mostly the same power a TOW or Griffin missiles have while S-13 is 4x more powerful than a Hellfire missile… Ranges of such rockets aren’t as long as missiles (max 6km) but a S-8 is enough to fuck up a T-72 tank and at the same time 6 pods can be carried, 18 KAB-100 can also be loaded…
    In other terms, a single Su-34 can simply blow about ‘just’ 138 targets per mission with a metric accuracy.
    And if it comes to cost, 34x100kg or 22x250kg dumb bombs can be near as accurate as guided ones, thanks to SVP-24 targeting/releasing system.

    10 Su-34 doing 3 missions a day could so strike 660 targets a day with 250kg bombs, 1020 with 100kg bombs and 4140 with a combination of guided S-8 and KAB-100…
    It would be MORE than easy to escalate up to 660-1020 strikes a day, even the cheap way using “dumb” bombs, thanks to the precision targetting system…
    What operations showed as long as I followed these was a clear LACK of air support for SAA and their allies.
    I think that VKS could easily ‘just’ strike at least 660 targets a day at minima, not just a 37 average.
    It’s not Russian ground troops that are needed but just perform SERIOUS aerial operations that will ruin all jihadi operation, the SAA boots would just have to come after and clean the remaining shit.

  2. According to the current economic situation, Russia can not afford more military ground forces. If Russia would really deploy ground troops to Syria, this could end in a bad manner.

    • Not forcedly but again, it’s not so interesting : what would have real effect is to scale up the number of strikes and there are way to not have the spendings sky rocket.
      Douma is simply not likely to say OK to a big deployment, not forcedly because of money, thus, Putin has been allowed to send drafted soldiers doing their mandatory military service, thus, it might have been a message : if it escalates, we can go full throttle.
      Putin is playing chess.

      • Yes & possibly to show that Putin is committed to a negotiation solution. p.s. He sent Chechen police – that is like sending Foreign legion. Democracies currently do not like to send their own sons.

        • Errr, not really : you don’t send French Foreign Legion to do police job… Let’s say that often, just knowing they are coming is enough to calm down everybody as their reputation precedes them… If not enough, well, some are known to shoot first and talk after. Let’s say the Legion will shoot then… shoot again and re-shoot and re-re-shoot, etc until nothing is still moving… Then they will talk and as nobody is answering, they’ll advance to next point, thus, they are likely to shoot again before…
          Now you’re a bit wrong about FFL : There is +50% of Frenchs in at the basis and after 3-5 years, most of foreign enlisted also become French citizens…

          • The Chechen are hired personnel no Sons of Matushke Russia. Like FL. And they are known as hard bones. Like FL. IMHO they are there to shot. Like FL. FL French? I know that – that is why they sing partly in German – at least one verse. Tongue out. They join to become French citizens and stay in France. Part of their deal.

    • IMHO the economic situation is not the main barrier. Russia does not want to redeploy existing ground forces to Syria. A democracy does not sent abroad forces ear marked for home defense.

    • When it comes to 21st century manufacture of supplies + rearms russia are most prepared along with china to fight the fight for what’s right endlessly without fail!

      something to consider+ the worlds largest oil+ gas producers,argiculture,top 3 gold miners,more robust + ethical economic platform without added zero’s hype
      accustom to western severely in debted nations+ the message is clear,lesson’s learn’t from history,this time round the short n sweet strategy will be priority,
      not the retarded concepts of last centuries,russians are wiser than nazis ye know!

  3. What is perhaps a serious failure on the Russian part , is the lack of preparedness to ”welcome” the 14000 ISIS members coming from Iraq , although the signs were all there , from late October , that they were abandoning Mosul , and coming in small units through the borders. FM Lavrov and Russian military experts were aware and made public their concerns. In late October. Armed flying patrols , with S-8 or S-13 rockets , and helicopter reconnaissance over the border areas should have prevented the massive attack on Palmyra and the subsequent fall of the city , with all the impending perils for the civilians and the monuments.

    • I think there is much more behind this. Think again, would Russia really tolerate something like this, if they would not get any advantage of this? I think the isis maneuvers where allowed on purpose. According to different sources the recent major attacks could have been their last ones. Furthermore the total collapse of these terrorist could sped up due to Trump. Trump is a new player on this field but his administration members are not, so we are driving into an unforeseeable future.

    • IMHO the local Syrian commander at Palmyra failed to fortify his positions against suicide car bombs like the Kurds always do. Result: vital check points lost at the beginning of the IS offensive. p.s. You can always have bad weather and get surprised – that is no Russian fault or design.