Putin has sent the feared Spetsnaz special forces into Syria to bail out Assad

Vladimir Putin’s feared Spetsnaz unit and a covert para battalion ghosted into the war-torn country and are preparing for an all-out assault on rebels fighting the regime – including moderate units such as the western-backed Free Syrian Army.

A military source said: “Putin’s marines are there to guard the airbases they are using against ­sabotage by rebels.

“But Spetsnaz and air-assault troops are not there to provide security to static objects, they are extremely aggressive and highly trained.

“They are there to mop up after air strikes, call in air strikes, go on extremely covert missions against rebels and ultimately wipe them out.