In an interview with Rossiskaya Gazeta, Russian Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov said that Russian special forces are actively carrying out reconnaissance missions and “other special tasks” in Syria.
"I will not hide the fact that on the territory of Syria there is a division of our special operations forces," Dvornikov told the state-run news agency.
"They perform supplementary reconnaissance on targets for Russian air strikes, they are engaged in guiding aircraft to targets in remote areas, and perform other special tasks,” the Colonel-General continued.
The Russian officer also drew attention to the fact that US special forces are active in Syria in a similar capacity.
In September of last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had no plans to conduct ground operations in Syria.
Spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov also denied reports that Russian ground forces were active in the war-torn country.
Russia continues to carry out airstrikes in Syria, despite Putin’s announcement last week that the majority of Russian forces would be withdrawn.
Though Russia has insisted that their forces in Syria have targeted positions of the so-called Islamic State and al-Nusra Front, they have been accused of bombing moderate, western-backed opposition groups. Amnesty International has accused the Russian military of deliberately targeting civilian areas in Syria, resulting in some of the most “egregious war crimes” the human rights organization has seen in decades.