Artem Amirakhov, a soldier of the 120th Separate Artillery Brigade (profile, album) (military unit 59361, stationed in Yurga) of the 41st Army of the Central Military District accidentally posted a geotagged photo, which points to a location 10 km west of Palmyra, Syria. This is exactly where for the last two weeks the troops of the Assad regime have been fighting ISIS groups for the control of the city. Amirakhov’s photographs show MSTA-B howitzers and a KAMAZ-63501 based artillery tractor, which are standard issue of the 120th Artillery Brigade of Russian Armed Forces. His other photos confirm the unit identification with Yurga area geotags and recognizable unit patches on his and other soldiers’ uniforms.
In the photo below, which was also uploaded on March 28, 2016, the desert landscape and olive trees usual to the geotagged area can be seen.There has been other evidence confirming the presence of the 120th artillery brigade in Syria.
On November 17, 2015, in a video presentation by the Russian Ministry of Defense a map of the area near the Shayrat base could be seen. This map included marked positions of the 5th howitzer battery of the 120th Artillery Brigade, deployed in the area since November 6. The map also showed that as of 14:00 on November 6, four Mi-24 attack helicopters and one Mi-8 transport helicopter were deployed at Shayrat airfield.
On March 17, 2016, Putin gave 17 state awards for participation in the Syrian operation. Among the recipients was captain Andrey Podolskiy, deputy commander of a howitzer battalion of the 120th Artillery Brigade.
Other Russian artillery brigades, previously identified by InformNapalm volunteers as deployed to Syria:
- East Is a Delicate Matter: 29 Servicemen from 291st Artillery Brigade in Syria
- Russian Soldier from the 200th Brigade Disclosed His Unit’s Disposition in Syria
CC BY 4.0 – Original article by InformNapalm team, translated by Gek. Upon reuse of the material, an active link to the author and our project is desirable.