12:03 Dec. 21, 2016
New special forces battalions formed in Chechnya to be engaged in Syria
Russian authorities have ordered the Chechen leaders to form two new combat battalions to be deployed in Syria for Russia's boots-on-the-ground operation, the Novaya Gazeta outlet has learned.
The authorities of the Russia's autonomous republic of Chechnya will form two battalions of 600 persons, the newspaper says, referring to its sources. The first special companies are undergoing an intensive physical and combat training.
The divisions are recruited with volunteering fighters and the same special forces companies have been created throughout the region for several months.
Adam Delimkhanov, the Russian State Duma representative for Chechnya, is reported as responsible for creating new battalions.
Also, the Chechen commander Apti Bolotkhanov may get ahead of one of the combat formation, the newspaper informs. He is widely known for high-ranking participation in Donbas war on the Russian-sponsored forces side. Bolotkhanov was often photographed together with Donbas Russian collaborator chief Olexander Zakharchenko.
Also, according to reports, the battalions are mostly filled in with the members of families of Chechen fighters who had joined the Islamic State.
Russia's military operation in Syria has been continuing since late September 2015. Despite at least 28 casualties among the Russian servicemen, Kremlin denies its involvement in ground combat against Syrian opposition or the Islamist groups.