Russians drop leaflets on ISIS, implying America and Israel is behind them
Dire warning: The leaflets (pictured) being dropped by Russian jets warn people to get out of the zone of 'special operations' - and one implies that terror group al-Nusra Front are backed by America and Israel
Syrian army helicopters have dropped tens of thousands of leaflets on ISIS and rebel fighters, warning them to get out now and 'don't make it even worse for yourselves'.
The flyers were let go over the embattled cities of Rastan and Talbiseh, which have been pounded by Moscow's warplanes this week and where Russia claims 5,000 ISIS and al-Nusra Front terrorists are stationed.
It came as Russian media said there would soon be a large ground operation in the area driven by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops - with Russia's military backing from the air and possibly on the ground, involving Spetsnatz special forces.
Iranian troops are said to have crossed the border from Iraq last week to help prop up Assad's ailing regime.
Get out while you can: Russian troops have dropped tens of thousands of leaflets (pictured) on Rastan and Talbiseh, warning people to get out 'for the sake of their life'
'Indiscriminate': Russia has been accused of bombing rebel areas instead of ISIS fighters since it began airstrikes on Wednesday, September 30
A pamphlet aimed at civilians, and designed to look like 'religious literature', read: 'Co-operate with the army and leave the zone of the special operations for the sake of your own life.'
It said they can travel through Syrian checkpoints safely with the leaflet, and the government will give them 'shelter, food and medical aid'.
Another one, meant for ISIS fighters, said: 'Don't make it even worse for yourselves.
'The Motherland [presumably Syria] is ready to hug you back again. Give up your arms as hundreds of other young guys like you have done.'
One of the pamphlets, obtained by the Kremlin-friendly Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda website, featured a cartoon of an al-Nusra front figurine being wound up by Israel and the United States.
The message accompanying the propaganda cartoon - designed to sow divisions between the extremist factions - read: 'Al-Nusra terrorists, they are American and Israeli rebels.'
The leaflets, were dropped out of ageing Russian-made Mi-8 helicopters guided by a 'tablet with Google Maps'.
The newspaper's reporter also said: 'Very soon the attack of the Syrian army will start here' - referring to Rastan and Talbiseh.
But just how much influence ISIS has on the region is open to dispute. Activists on the ground claim that Al-Nusra Front - a terror group linked to al Qaeda which split from ISIS - is dominant, as are other more moderate rebel factions fighting to bring down Assad.
Russia has been criticised over the last week for focusing its fire on moderate rebel positions - some of which have been given cash and training by the US - rather than ISIS, which are posing more of a threat on the borders of Assad's power base after five years of civil war.
Hundreds' of troops from Iran, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah Islamist group and rebels from Iraq have also converged on Syria over the last few weeks.
There have been reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent the country's notorious special forces battalion, the Spetsnaz, to wipe out the enemies of Assad.
The covert unit is being deployed for an 'all-out assault' on both ISIS fighters and rebels including the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, an army source told the Mirror.
He 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.'
Moscow's warplanes have been taking off from its heavily-guarded airbase in Latakia, eastern Syria, 'every ten minutes' for the last six days, reported Komsomolskaya Pravda.
Missions take place 24-hours-a-day, and the night time is 'just as active as the day'.
Despite widespread western fears that the Russians are using inaccurate cluster munitions that have already killed innocent civilians during the bombing campaign, the newspaper claimed that their precision weapons can hit a target with an error of just one or two metres.
Middle East's Melting Pot of Chaos: Who's Fighting Who... And Why
A graphic showing who is fighting who in the Middle East and why. The conflict has become so complex that arch enemies are finding their interests have aligned, presenting diplomatic and military conundrums
What factions are fighting in Syria?
A mainly Sunni Islamist terror group, including tens of thousands of foreign fighters, which has moved into large swathes of Syria.
Bashar al-Assad is believed to have used chemical weapons against his people. His government considers all rebel groups terrorists.
Moderate Syrian rebels
Backed by the West. Known as the Free Syrian Army.
An extremist rebel group affiliated with Al Qaeda.
Lebanon’s Shi'ite group Hezbollah, backed by Iran, fights with the Syrian army.
An alliance of seven rebel groups who want to create an Islamic state but criticise ISIS for its brutal tactics.
US, UK and other coalition forces
The coalition forces are fighting to defeat ISIS and oust Assad. Coalition forces are in Turkey and Jordan training moderate Syrian rebels.
Vladimir Putin says Russia is attacking ISIS and supporting Assad. Evidence suggests it is attacking non-ISIS rebels.
Iranian troops are to join government forces and Hezbollah in a ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes. Iran wants to defeat ISIS and prop up Assad.
A technician at the base told the newspaper: 'It can hit the handle of the spade if you place it vertically.'
But one of Syria's main rebel groups, the National Coalition, claimed Russian airstrikes killed 36 civilians on the very first day of attacks on Wednesday, September 30.
Since then, the United States, Turkey, the UK and Gulf Nations have accused Russia of killing both innocents and 'moderate rebels' who oppose ISIS.
Keen to portray their troops as liberators, rather than invaders, the Russians agreed for photographers to visit the Latakia base, where 32 planes including Su-24 and Su-30 jets, and around 500 marine infantry troops are stationed.
Carefully-staged images depicted a smooth-running camp equipped with a mobile sauna, bread oven and a canteen which can feed '3,000 soldiers at a time'.
Downtime: A banya, or steam shower unit, shoots smoke up into the air. It can cater for 10 people in an hour
One of the base's cooks, Lidiya Tychkina, said: 'We feed them with stewed meat, chicken, borsch soup, salads, pan-cakes, bread. All the food comes from Russia, all is fresh and tasty. We got used to the weather here. Adaptation is over. And locals are so friendly to us.'
A spokesman of the Russian Defence Ministry, Igor Klimov, said: 'Everything was was done in order to provide the best conditions for Russian military men, so they could follow their assignments.
'Dozens of infrastructure buildings were erected in a short time. Fuel stations, storages, nutrition infrastructure. The soldiers live in the special buildings with furniture, equipped with air conditioners.'
Tensions were raised even higher yesterday when NATO denounced Russia for entering Turkish airspace, and Turkey warned that further violations would be treated as enemy action.
NATO said Russian Su-30 and Su-24 aircraft violated Turkish airspace on both Saturday and Sunday in the Hatay region.
Russia tried to play down the incident by claiming a single jet entered Turkish airspace for 'several seconds' and that bad weather had blown it off course - but the United States for one rejected this.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US was 'quite concerned' by Russia's action - describing it as a provocation.
He said: 'Given the stakes and sensitivity around the Russian military action in that region of the world, I think our concerns are well-founded.'