Russia has deployed a group of special forces in Syria to conduct " reconnaissance and other special tasks " in the war - torn country, a senior Russian military commander says.The announcement by Colonel General Alexander Dvornikov, a commander of the Russian contingent in Syria, is the first time Russia confirms assigning combat roles to its ground forces in Syria. " I am not going to conceal the fact that our special operations forces are working in the territory of Syria. They are doing reconnaissance checks prior to the Russian air strikes; heading the planes to targets in remote regions as well as fulfilling other special tasks, " the Tass news agency quoted Dvornikov as saying in an interview with Russia ' sRossiyskaya Gazeta daily. The Russian commander (seen below) added that his country’s military advisers are also “helping their Syrian colleagues to plan and conduct the warfare against terrorists and learn to handle the Russian military hardware." Target reconnaissance missions often require deploying highly-skilled forces behind enemy lines so they can collect information on targets hidden from aerial or satellite surveillance. Up to six of the Russian personnel deployed to Syria have so far been reportedly killed, with the latest being a major in the interior ministry troops whose death emerged on Wednesday. The news comes only days after Russian forces in Syria were ordered by President Vladimir Putin to partially withdraw from the country in the wake of a Russia-US brokered cessation of hostilities that has been in place since February 27 and a new round of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and the opposition.