RE: Russian ground deployment, purpose of Russian mlitary is not to do the job of Syrian border police.
USA can supply ISIS from more than just one direction. They control entire Iraq and there is always Lebanon and Israel even if you somehow make Turkish border airtight.
They only need to kill one Russian soldier per day. Two months later watch chaos unfold at home...
I'm against a regular ground deployment too, but it seems to be happening in limited numbers. Not to do the SAA's job for them but rarher to make sure they keep on winning.
Spetsnaz operatives have been there for years now and they have probably increased their presence ever since the VKS started flying overhead. Good chance that Spetsnaz operatives are the ones marking up targets for the VKS behind enemy lines along with Syrian Special Forces.
Regular units have been spotted outside Latakia and Tartus acting as advisers and whatnot too. I am willing to bet that T-90 we saw in Aleppo a few weeks back was manned by a Russian crew. There was also that story two or three weeks ago where a few Russian soldiers (Marines if I remember correctly) went in "very professionally," captured and removed kebab from a strategically important hill with no casualties. There was in fact a hill that did get captured by pro-government forces right before that story became known so that story could very well hold merit. Not to mention there was that map followed by reports of a Russian Artillery division using MSTAs to provide fire support for the SAA.
I'm personally not a fan of having troops risking their lives for a war that isn't ours. We are in Syria on the gesture of goodwill to Assad and the people of Syria. With all that said, it is understandable that in order to ensure a quicker victory there must be some presence on the ground. Russian military today is almost in no way similar to the Soviet Army that fought in Afghanistan or even the Russian Army in Chechnya. Russia's leadership isn't throwing away the lives of their soldiers anymore. As long as the troops come home alive and well, let them do their thing.