Not-So-Soft Power: Russia’s Military Police in Syria, Mark Galeotti (IIR, Czech Republic)

Earlier this month, in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, 29 Russians found themselves encircled by fighters from the rebel front Tahrir al-Sham (which Moscow still calls by its old name, Jabhat al-Nusra). Moscow responded with a characteristic extravagant display of firepower. The attack submarine Veliky Novgorod launched its Kalibr cruise missiles, and Su-25 ground attack aircraft flew sorties, while helicopters laden with Syrian and Russian commandos (including men from the elite Special Operations Command) flew in to extract the soldiers and then punish Tahrir al-Sham. Only three Russians were wounded in this operation, and none died. What was unusual was that the men of this platoon serving in an exposed position were not Spetsnaz special forces, but members of the Voennaya politsiya, Russia’s military police. Read more about it in the new article by Mark Galeotti for the War on the Rocks platform, which analyzes the role of Russia’s military police in Syria.

Read it here