- Russia has deployed additional river-crossing equipment to Syria
- The move is to speed up the expansion of the bridgehead on the eastern side of the Euphrates
Russian army engineers have built a bridge over the Euphrates that should enable Syrian government forces to rapidly expand their bridgehead on the eastern side of the river, it was revealed on 25 September, when Russia’s Channel One News showed the completed structure.
Analysis of the footage indicates the bridge was assembled at the same section of the Euphrates downriver of Dayr al-Zawr city where Syrian government forces made their first crossing on 18 September. That crossing was made using a combination of Soviet-era PMP pontoons and BMK boats to ferry vehicles and troops across the river.
The newly constructed bridge was identified as a 210 m-long MARM medium portable bridge: a type made using 9.3 m spans that are supported by adjustable legs, thus taking longer to construct than one made using floating pontoons.
The Channel One News footage showed at least two PMM-2M self-propelled ferries working at the site. Two PMM-2Ms were seen being unloaded from a Russian Aerospace Forces Antonov An-124-100 transport aircraft at the main Russian air base in Syria in a video released by the Free Syria News blog on 24 September.
The footage also showed smoke generators in action around the crossing site to conceal it from Islamic State militants operating in the area.
Vladimir Burovtsev, the head of Russian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD's) road service, told journalists that the militants used drones to drop explosive devices on the Russian engineers as they assembled the bridge, but inflicted no casualties.
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