„Senior commanders in the Sunni Palestinian Quds Brigade, known as the Liwa al Quds or the Syrian Arab Army Fedayeen, have been photographed receiving medals from Russian military officers for battlefield action.
The latest interaction further indicates the deep level of Russian involvement and impact they are having on the Syrian civil war. The pro-government militia is drawn from the Palestinian diaspora in Aleppo province, and has openly operated as an auxiliary to pro-regime forces there since 2013. The unit numbers in the several hundreds.
Late last month, the Quds Brigade and the Syrian Arab Army succeeded in taking the strategic Handarat Palestinian refugee camp and Kindi Hospital north of Aleppo proper, following the launch of an offensive in late September and several rounds of intense back-and-forth with the Islamist-led Fatah Halab coalition. Pro-regime forces and the Quds Brigade have been fighting to control the camp since 2014. The capture of Handarat was a significant victory, particularly for the Palestinian militia, whose members are drawn from the town. Capturing that area and the adjacent Kindi Hospital consolidates pro-regime control over a key road north of Aleppo, and has opened a front to push toward the rebel-held area of the city. The Quds Brigade has reportedly continued to make gains in the surrounding areas.“