Russia's highly secretive Special Operations Forces, which perform the most demanding and sensitive tasks and can delve into enemy territory, are marking their professional day. Here's how the commands work.
The SpecOp branch of the Russian military camps highly trained fighters, who know how to infiltrate behind enemy lines and wreak havoc with sabotage, organizing guerrilla forces and other forms of clandestine action.
It was created more than a decade ago as a separate command, reporting directly to the General Staff, but it only had a professional holiday in 2015. A video showing the skills and equipment of Russian commandos was published by the Ministry of Defense on Thursday to mark the day.
Little is known about SSO operations, but the forces would have played a crucial role in turning the tide of battle in Syria, working in the field to identify high-value jihadist targets and direct air strikes by Russian Air Forces.
One of the few commands whose identity has been made public is Aleksandr Prokhorenko, who was surrounded by Islamic State terrorists (IS, formerly ISIS) during the 2016 battle for Palmyra. Instead of surrendering to them, he called artillery fire at his location.
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