Russian troops already engaged in battle against ISIS around Homs

Contrary to the impression conveyed by Moscow that Russian troops in Syria are not engaged in combat and that none of the sophisticated arms deliveries were destined to the Syrian army, new developments belie both these claims.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that on Wednesday, September 16, Russian R-166-0.5 (ultra) high-frequency signals (HF/VHF) vehicles were spotted on Highway 4, which links Homs and Aleppo. These vehicles, called “mobile war rooms” by the IDF and Western armies, were accompanied by BTR-82 troop carriers transporting Russian marines. The R-166-0.5 enables communication with forces located on battlefields as far as 1,000 kilometers away using high frequency and ultra-high frequency signals.

The communication systems are resistant to electromagnetic jamming so Russian forces operating deep inside Syria can report to their commanders at the main Russian base in Latakia or receive orders, intelligence data and even video from drones or planes.

Another feature is a cylinder on the side of the vehicle containing a folded antenna that can be raised to a height of 15 meters.

The R-166-0.5 is an integral part of Russia’s battlefield operations, so it would not be deployed unless long-distance troop movements were underway. The appearance of those vehicles in the Syrian theater provides a clear signal of Moscow’s intentions.

Our sources point out that during the past few days, fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) succeeded in cutting off part of the highway between Homs and Aleppo for several hours. It marked a very dangerous development for the Syrian army and regime, because a permanent cutoff of Highway 4 would tighten the siege on Aleppo and possibly pave the way for the conquest of the second-largest city in Syria.

The movements by the armored vehicles show that the Russian troops are preparing to head into battle in order to prevent such a scenario.

debkafile’s military sources reveal that the Russian shipments for the Syrian army include MI-28 MIL assault helicopters (NATO-coded Havoc), an all-weather aircraft, which can also serve as an anti-tank weapon against the mostly US-made tanks fielded by ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front Syrian arm.

Our military and intelligence sources point out that Moscow has given itself room to maneuver in terms of its declared goals, telling Washington and Jerusalem during the past few days that its troops will defend their own interests if there is a need to do so. Thus, Russia aims to use its forces in any way that it deems fit.

Full article: Russian troops already engaged in battle against ISIS around Homs (DEBKAfile)

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