That Tigr-M looks like them real SAA (aka Soviet Auxiliary Army).
Also, There's no God but Sukhoi and OFAB is his messenger. Just realizing the completely different kind of business Russia is conducting in Syria. Yesterday I was at some friends for Christmas. And Syria was part of the discussion. So my friend of 15 years, recently discharged, former Royal Military School Instructor, and two other guys with peculiar résumés, we're sharing thoughts about what them Russians doing in Syria.
Now before I tell you more, the disclaimer is that every one of the guys is normally Anti-Russian. Normally. Because on Ukraine for instance it has been largely indifference or disgust about EU meddling, all are rather Right wingers.
So first the Colonel tells me that they like very much what they see (him and some other people). They judge the Russian action VERY heavy handed, but very effective as well. They assume that the Russians can do that because leadership is serious about goals. It's not what they're used to in regards to THE ENEMY. Semi-jockingly, that he'd gladly jump ship and become a Russian officer, if that could be feasible. He also says that the ERM (Royal military school) has become mainly a PR school with some shooting. Many basic things they need to learn for OPS, they can't do. That a lot of things that they used to teach even 10 years ago are completely theoretical now.
Also "dumb" bombing above 6000m with that kind of acc, it's very difficult to believe from Russia. Yet he said that it's true, there's no way the bombings are staged or cut down. That's one tough wake up call for most of the officer corps at the ERM, because Russia is still sold as a derelict military. The other thing is that they haven't lost a beat (or a plane) since the start. Turkish attack (yeah he says everyone knows the Su24 was no accident) Finds that the whole show with Strategic bombers was OTT.
If Russia can muster the same kind of effectiveness vs any European NATO member, there's little hope to close in any thing before the German mainland. And given Germany is shedding away most of its assets, the Russian border could well be back at Berlin in a blink of an eye. He says that most of the BS circulating among study groups so far is some serious wishful thinking, bundled together by kids with no idea of warfare. Staffers that are not military shouldn't be touching these things. Ukraine left him with a lot of angst, because the Russians showed twice and almost went to Kiev (sic).
There's also a huge problem of cost overshoot in NATO (especially old members). Some systems that should be basically free, are costing more than others. Because Belgium has swapped ammo supplier now the cost per round has doubled at 38 cent per round. This is due to EU regulation about tenders. This causes a burden on roughly 450 million euros more (In my understanding this is since 2014, but might be before). So the FNC/MiniMi costs money more than their brand new Radios. Which they use FAR MORE than the firearms. Like wtf? That will kill most NATO economies in any kind of prolonged warfare with Russia. It's like a 1 month cost for any NATO member is likely to be worth 6 months of deployment for Russia. Since 15 years that gap, that should come down, is going up.
Some other details I'll try and recall about his sentiment regarding Russia. But bottom line is that he clearly sees the Russians as dedicated to bail out "Assad" and that is causing probably more pain that we see in the map. If the Syrians have advanced, given their lack of anything (he's harsh) that means that both the Iranians and Russians are beating the hell out of the "rebels". And the fact the Syrians are having a wide spread effect in Aleppo, is clearly a sign. Aleppo was a lost battle in June, matter of time. Now it's on the verge of being won. Tactically, the situation for Idlib, in his view is dire because the whole are will become so tight, that it would allow the Russians to hit anything that moves on the Idlib/Turkey and Idlib/Jisr directions and be "right" 50% of the time. Which in a matter of weeks would signify the death knell of the Northern Syria rebellion. And Turkey couldn't do anything about it.
The only thing that could go wrong is a huge blunder with multiple hundred dead civilians to derail the air campaign.
Basically the others were more or less in agreement. These people are normally ANTI-Russian. So if these guys are starting to rethink Russian position (not because they like it) but because they see the "reality", then we can safely say that indeed the Russians are kicking ass and trashing the rebels.
And this strike is clearly the cherry on top.