On Friday morning, a Russian Marine contingent of about 40 soldiers arrived at their naval repair facility in Tartous City in order to train the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF) inside a number of provinces, including the Homs, Latakia, and Tartous Governorates of western Syria.
Despite the propaganda surfacing from their arrival in Tartous, the Russian Marines have no direct involvement in the ground warfare; however, they are assisting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) with both intel and satellite imagery, while the Syrian Opposition media reports the direct use of these Russian soldiers at checkpoints in rural Latakia and Homs.
According to a military source inside the Latakia Governorate, the Russian Marines have not manned any checkpoints nor engaged the Syrian Opposition forces in direct combat; this was reportedly fabricated by social media activists from the Syrian Opposition.
The source confirmed that the Russian Marines have all arrived in Tartous; they are currently stationed inside the strategic cities of Slunfeh (Jabal Al-Akrad), Jableh (coastal city in Latakia) and Homs.
As of Saturday night, the Syrian Armed Forces are in full control of their own checkpoints inside the aforementioned areas and they have not conceded control to any of the Russian soldiers that have arrived in Syria.