Russia has built up a “substantial” military presence including ground troops in Syria, according to the Nato secretary-general.

Jens Stoltenberg told journalists that Vladimir Putin’s forces have not mainly been targeting Isis, but other opposition groups.

“I will not go into any specific numbers but I can confirm that we have seen the substantial build-up of Russian forces in Syria – air force, air defences but also ground troops in connection with the air base they have,” he continued.

A Russian pilot climbs from an SU-25M jet fighter at Hmeimim airbase in Syria

“And we also see increased naval presence of Russian ships and naval capabilities outside Syria or in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.

“So there has been a substantial military build-up by Russia with many different kinds of capabilities and forces, over the last weeks.”

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