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Spetsnaz are elite special forces in the Russian military. These paratrooper commandos date back to the Soviet era and were active in Afghanistan.

In recent times, they have engaged in counterterrorism operations. For example, they fought in Chechnya and were behind the rescue in the Moscow theatre hostage crisis. Also, they operated during the Beslan school massacre.

In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent the Spetsnaz into battle in the Syrian Civil War against the terror group ISIS.