From Zero Hedge:
Having recently won the crucial battle for Aleppo, which has changed the layout of the ongoing Syrian proxy war between the Assad regime (with the Kremlin’s backing), and “rebel” forces including various Al-Qaeda elements (supported by the US-led alliance), hardly content with this crucial victory Russian president Vladimir Putin is only just getting started, and as the Daily Beast confirms reports that had previously circulated in the Russian press, dozens of highly trained “Chechen killer” Russian special military units in red berets are being transported to Syria. Their mission there is largely a mystery.
Chechnya, a North Caucasus republic that fought and lost two separatist wars against Russia in 1994-1996 and 1999-2006, is sending hundreds of its highly trained soldiers to the Middle East to fight against Islamist groups, including the Islamic State, where many soldiers and some leaders are Chechen, too. Various Russian reports mention from 3,500 to 5,000 Chechens enlisted with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Why the dispatch? Because, as the Beast writes, “it is one thing to tell the world that Russian President Vladimir Putin brought peace to Aleppo in Syria, and a completely different story to maintain control over pro-Moscow regions on the ground. The Kremlin is strengthening its aviation and land troop bases in Latakia. The Russian military, meanwhile, sees an advantage in Syria, a chance for officers to “get under fire,” to grow more experienced.”
The effort is relatively new: Chechen commanders have been recruiting soldiers for the “Syrian” special units for several months, Novaya Gazeta, the Russian independent newspaper, reported on Tuesday.
“This year ends in the best way for Moscow, beyond its wildest dreams,” Sergei Markov, a Russian official and adviser to the government, told The Daily Beast. “President Putin has won his battles on many …