A national defense analyst says it was apparently hired Russian "proxies" that U.S. forces easily defeated in a clash in Syria last month.
On February 7, U.S. forces repelled an attack from "pro-regime" Syrian forces against their base. Five days later, Reuters reported that two Russians died in the fighting. But subsequent reports in the both the New York Times and the Washington Post said the rumored Russian dead soared to "large numbers" or "dozens" killed.
There has been speculation that this clash was the result of a Vladimir Putin-approved operation to test American defenses. Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis (USA-Ret.), a senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, offers his take on the matter.
"They hire all sorts of ... 'proxies,' we can call them, who may not be Spetznaz and the best of fighters – and yes, we do have engagements of that sort of thing," he tells OneNewsNow. "It's good when we can target people who are unfriendly and we take advantage of those opportunities, so I'm not surprised at all. I think this will continue."
But Maginnis says it remains to be seen how U.S. troops would perform in pitched battles against Russians or Chinese.
"I suspect that there is a chance that we will have to fight the Chinese and the Russians in the future. It depends upon a host of activities going on now," he admits. "I would encourage [people to] read the unclassified version of the Nation Security Strategy [PDF] and the National Defense Strategy [PDF] that have come out recently [to] get some concept as to the concern that we have about the future fights."