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Published in Press Stream:
October 5, 2015

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Published in Stream:
October 5, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
US Says Russia Sending Ground Troops Readying For Offensive In Syria
6 years
Stream: October 5, 2015
Publication: Putin in Syria
Russian Admiral, Head of State Duma's Defense Committee Says Russian Volunteers Likely to Fight in Syria
Russian Speaker of Parliament Denies Ground Troops Will Take Part in Syria Operation

CNN reports that, according to US officials, the Russian military in northwest Syria contains weapons that could be used in a direct ground assault on rebel positions:

The equipment includes several piece of artillery, as well as four BM-30 multiple-launch rocket systems -- all considered to be highly accurate weapons. The latter is capable of rapid-fire rocket launches.

Several weeks ago, Russia moved about half a dozen artillery pieces into Latakia port.

The U.S. originally had thought that might be for defense of the port, but the latest move is an indication of potential ground attacks in the coming days, the official said.

The weapons have been spotted between Homs and Idlib and west of Idlib.

It's important to note that there are no ISIS positions in this area:

The BM-30 "Smerch" mentioned above is a multiple-launch rocket launcher with 12 barrels and a maximum firing range of 90 kilometers, making it a highly effective weapon. Since the minimum distance of the Smerch's warheads is 20-25 kilometers it does not make a good defensive weapon. Instead, this weapon could help Russia launch an offensive mission.

Furthermore, such weapons can fire if bad weather grounds Russian aircraft which have, presumably, also been actively scouting for bombing locations while they have been conducting their missions. That could come in handy:

-- James Miller