First, a body of three battalions of 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers was deployed at Khmeimin and has already started pounding rebel lines and command centers in the area. This heavy artillery system, capable of firing 152mm bombs at a rapid pace, is a veteran of Russia’s former campaigns against Islamic terrorist groups, especially in the Russian war against Islamic rebels in Chechnya in the 1990s.
The 2S19 Msta-S has a modified chassis of a T-80 tank and a diesel motor of a T-72. It is effective against fortifications as well as military and terrorist targets in wooded mountain areas, exactly the kind of geographical environment in which the rebels around Latakia area are operating.
debkafile’s military sources point out that, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu continue to claim that Russian forces will not be engaged in Syrian ground warfare,the heavy artillery systems brought to the country and their use in battle tell a different story. They show that Russian ground combat in Syria is expanding.
Full article: Russia speeds tons of heavy artillery and MRLs to Syria for expanded ground combat (DEBKAfile)