Moscow sets up Russian Golan brigade, warns Israel Sunnis plus al Qaeda are bigger threat than Assad

Russian MI-24 helicopters designated for Golan

Russian MI-24 helicopters designated for Golan

Moscow is not ready to give up on getting Russian troops posted on the divided Golan as part of the UN force policing the Israeli-Syrian separation sector, even after rejections by the UN and Israel. Monday, June 10, the Russian lawmaker Aleksey Pushkov, an influential foreign relations policy adviser to the Kremlin, said: “The issue has not been yet solved, it is being considered. We must take some real action because we cannot exclude that the Syrian-Israeli topic would be involved in large-scale military action.”

Shortly before he spoke, the military announced in Moscow that the Russian Airborne Troops had formed a separate brigade especially designed to serve as peacekeepers “under the aegis of the United Nations or as part of the force set up by the Russian-led CSTO (Russian-Asian) security bloc for combating terrorism. Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan contribute special units.

Vladimir Shamanov, commander of Russian Airborne troops, said the new brigade had been awarded the status of “a peacekeeping unit” on June 1. He did not say by whom. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose the Moscow proposes to give the “peacekeeping” brigade from the Russian Airborne Troops “teeth” in the form of of MI-24 combat helicopters.

The idea of placing Russian peacekeepers on the Golan was first voiced by President Vladimir Putin on June 7, after Austria decided to withdraw its 377-strong contingent from the area over an outbreak of fighting there between Syrian troops and rebels.

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