Are Russian Boots on the Ground in Syria?While the Obama administration continues to prevaricate over its strategy in Syria, it appears Russia is feeling rather less inhibited in its intervention. The Kremlin has been a staunch ally of the Assad regime since the Syrian uprising began in 2011, and has been very open in its support. Moscow has provided invaluable assistance against the rebels seeking to oust the embattled dictator, sending arms, acting as a diplomatic shield (including helping the White House climb down from threats to intervene in 2013) and even sending military advisers to help train and direct Assad’s overstretched forces.

But now it seems an increasingly ambitious Russian administration has began deploying boots on the ground, at least in the front line around the Assad regime’s strongholds in Latakia, which have in recent months been threatened by an advancing Islamist rebel alliance calling itself the “Army of Conquest.” FULL REPORT