Russian Colonel General Andrey Serdyukov, who commanded the operation to seize Crimea in 2014, led the Russian military group in Syria, reports the Russian newspaper Kommersan" quoting its sources.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has not officially commented regarding this information.
According to Kommersant, Serdyukov was appointed as the commander of the Russian contingent in Syria on April 10, replacing Colonel General Sergei Surovikin, who commanded the military groups in Syria longer than anybody else, more than a year. Serdyukov has participated in the military operations in the Crimea and Chechnya.
Kemmersant’s sources stated that the newly appointed commander has one major task set before him. He will have to accelerate the implementation of the Russian-Turkish agreements on joint military patrols in the Syrian province of Idlib.
The agreements between Moscow and Ankara were reached as early as 2018. It was planned that the joint patrolling of Russian military police and Turkish troops would begin on October 15. According to the Kommersant sources, the Turkish side took responsibility for the withdrawal of the militants along with the heavy weapons from the de-escalation zone of Idlib. These plans, however, were thwarted because the militants (primarily from Front Al-Nusra Front) intensified their attacks. Turkey and Russia were unable to start patrolling the area and the militants and the weapons remained in the de-escalation zone.