On many previous occasions the InformNapalm international volunteer community presented the evidence of the hybrid nature of the Russian Armed forces and its personnel in particular. It was a common practice for the Russian military personnel to instantly become the “former coal miners from Donbas” as they join the separatist ranks. But today we are witnessing yet another peculiar phenomenon when during the last one and a half years the Russian military units and personnel that have previously been spotted in Ukrainian Donbas are now being seen in Syria. It comes as no surprise as having completed the “Ukrainian assignment” and gained priceless combat experience thousands of the “Donbas veterans” are now on Kremlin’s high demand list for this conflict-torn middle east country.
This article presents the evidence gathered on the “Syrian campaign” of the 21st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of Central Military District. The 21st SMRB has previously been a subject of the number of our investigations of Russian military involvement in Donbas.
The OSINT (open source intelligence) analysis of the social media identified the profiles of the contract servicemen of the 21st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of Central Military District (military unit 12128, Totskoye, Orenburg Oblast, Russia) who participated in and completed the “Syrian assignment”.
Note: number of times before, the servicemen of the 21st SMRB have unwittingly provided us with solid evidence of their presence in Donbas by posting photos online. Not long ago we identified approximately 20 military servicemen of the 9K330 “Tor” surface-to-air missile system that have been deployed in Donbas and now returned to the permanent base. Among other such “leaks” are the photoshoots in Starobesheve on a background of destroyed Russian tanks.
But as the French saying goes, let us revenons à nos moutons, to the group of servicemen of the 21st SMRB who gave themselves and, consequently, the entire brigade away by posting photos from the Syrian assignment. At this time some of the social media profiles have been already deleted, others cleaned up. Nevertheless, the InformNapalm archives contain hundreds of profiles and photos of the Russian military who participated in these illegal assignments.
- Ivan Dymnich – born on January 24, 1995, in Dombarovsky, Orenburg Oblast, Russia (archives of the social media account “VK”, – profile, photo albums, contacts), the profile has been deleted.
Group photo of the of servicemen of the 21st SMRB in Syria, uploaded on December 31, 2015 (archive).
- Radik Turdaleev – born in 1993 (archive of the social media account “VK”, – profile, photo albums, contacts), posted the photo with Ivan Dymnich (see archive) and both can be easily recognized on the group photo from the Dymnich’s profile. At the same time Turdaleev is a “veteran” of the annexation of Crimea, on this photo (archive) he can be seen wearing a “CrimeaIsOurs” medal.
- Aleksey Tyumentsev – born on August 9, 1995, in Abatsk, Tyumenskaya Oblast (archives of the social media account “VK”, – profile, photo albums, contacts), photo from Syria dated January, 2016.
- Aleksandr Petrov – born on 1996, in Buguruslan, Orenburg Oblast (archives of the social media account “VK”, – profile, contacts). The photo album from the Syrian assignment is now deleted but can be found in the profile online archive as well as the InformNapalm archives.
- Gazylyan Fazylyanovich Kusakov – from Idelbakovo, Republic of Bashkiria (archives of the social media account “VK”, – profile 1, 2, 3, photo albums, contacts), posted photos from Syria dated January and March 2016.
In spite of the multiple reassurances issued by the Kremlin’s political figures and command of the Russian Federation Armed Forces on the absence on any army units in Syria, apart from Spetsnaz and military advisors, the InformNapalm has identified the military personnel of the following units:
- 66th Separate Signal Brigade (military unit 41600, Stavropol);
- 27th SMRB (military unit 61899, Moscow Oblast);
- 20th Chemical Defense Regiment (military unit 12102, Nizhny Novgorod);
- 74th SMRB (military unit 21005, Yurga);
- 17th Novosibirsk Military Base – 32nd Motorized Rifle Brigade and/or 24 Brigade of
- RU Spetsnaz (military unit 55433 – 24 Brigade of GRU Spetsnaz and/or military unit 22316 – 32nd SMRB);
- 291st Artillery Brigade (military unit 64670, Ingushetia);
- 200th Artillery Brigade (military unit 48271, Zabaykalsky Krai);
- 120th Artillery Brigade (military unit 59361, Yurga);
- 34th Mountain SMRB (military unit 01485, Karachay-Cherkessia);
- 810th Separate Marine Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet (military unit No. 13140, occupied Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine);
- 336th Separate Marine Brigade of the Baltic Sea Fleet (military unit No. 06117, Kaliningrad Oblast, annexed Königsberg);
- 28th SMRB (military unit 61423, Yekaterinburg);
- 7th Military Base (military unit 09332, occupied Abkhazia, Georgia).
- 21st SMRB (military unit 12128, Orenburg Oblast), main subject of this article.
In total, we have identified a minimum of 14 military units. However, this number does not include the Air Force units, combat support and other units deployed in Syria.
The InformNapalm international volunteer community attempts to reveal the truth and let the global community see the true face of the “Russian world”. It might be that the global leaders would choose to continue to apply the “deep concern” policy, but, in such a case, we cannot completely rule out the possibility of witnessing yet another “assignment” of the Russian military, – only this time it could very well be somewhere in Europe.
The InformNapalm database contains findings and investigations of Russian military involvement in Ukraine and offers evidence of deployment of at least 60 military units of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. To view the database click here http://bit.ly/RussianPresenceEN.