The commander of the Russian troops in Syria has been replaced. Instead of Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov, who has commanded the Russian forces in the country since April, the position will now be held by Deputy Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Alexander Chayko, Vedomosti reports, citing a source close to Russia’s Defense Ministry.
Chayko also featured in photographs published by the Moskovskij Komsomolets on November 11 following a visit by members of the Defense Ministry Public Council to Syria. “The public council members met with the commanders and fighters of the Russian military bases, gave them gifts, and organized a concert,” the article notes.
According to Vedomosti’s source, the change of commander in Syria actually took place in September, although no official announcement was made. General Andrey Serdyuk was replaced because his assignment period in the Middle East came to an end.
This is not Alexander Chayko’s first trip to Syria. In 2017, his name was mentioned among other chiefs of staff in the country during an address by Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov to the College of the Defense Ministry. Since 2014, Chayko has been the commander of the 20th Combined Arms Army of Russia’s Western Military District. In 2017, he was appointed chief of staff of the Eastern Military District, and later also acting commander of the district. He has been awarded the Order of Military Merit.
Colonel-General Andrey Serdyuk, the previous commander of Russia’s forces in Syria, has held the position since April. He acquired combat experience in Chechnya, and commanded the Airborne Forces before his appointment in Syria.