A spokesman for the Russian military recently commented, “An officer of Russian special operations forces was killed near Palmyra while carrying out a special task to direct Russian airstrikes at Islamic State group targets. The officer was carrying out a combat task in Palmyra area for a week, identifying crucial IS targets and passing exact coordinates for strikes with Russian planes. The officer died as a hero; he drew fire onto himself after being located and surrounded by terrorists.”

The Western media immediately picked up on the story, hailing the Russian “Rambo” who went out in a blaze of glory fighting ISIS savages. But in truth, this is clearly nothing more than yet another dual-purpose Russian information operation. First, let’s take a look at the kit captured by ISIS from the killed Russian SOF operator.

Russiankit

Armament Research writes, “This particular example is fitted with a range of post-manufacture accessories, including an adjustable buttstock, a CAA fore end with multiple accessory rails, top accessory rail, and alternative pistol grip. The rifle is also fitted with a suppressor in place of the distinctive muzzle brake, and an IWT 640 ‘Haron’ thermal weapon sight with backup CQB red-dot sight. The weapon and its magazines have been painted in a camouflage scheme…the equipment is consistent with that issued to and acquired by Russian special operations forces (SOF) in recent years, including items documented in service with Russian SOF in Ukraine and elsewhere.”