A leaked video that was broadcasted on Syrian television shows Russian troops battling armed rebels alongside forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. In the clip, which was recently broadcast by the State-run Damascus television station, Kremlin soldiers are heard conversing in Russian during a battle in the Latakia mountains.

It also shows an advanced Russian armoured car - a BTR-82A, which has been used by Russian forces since 2014, firing at the rebels.

Russia is one of the few allies of the Syrian president and has long been a major arms supplier to Syria. But this is the first time that a proof has emerged of Russian soldiers fighting in Syria.

Meanwhile, an activist with the Syrian rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, told The Times that the Russians have been there for a long time. "More Russian officials have come to Slunfeh in recent weeks. We don't know how many, but I can assure you there has been Russian reinforcement," he said.

Recently, a Twitter account linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, published images of what was claimed to be Russian planes and drones flying over Idlib.

Telegraph report suggested that the Russians seen fighting in the Latakia mountains could be private contractors.

Video Shows Russian Troops in Syria