Russian buildup at Syria airport

Russian forces are expanding the tarmac of a major airport in Syria's coastal province of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar Assad and his minority sect, a prominent Syrian monitoring group said Sunday.

The report comes amid rising concern among U.S. officials of increased Russian military activity in Syria. President Obama cast the buildup as an effort to prop up the country's embattled leader, warning Moscow against trying to help Assad.

Russia, a longtime backer of Syria's government, denies it's trying to bolster Assad and says its increased military activity is part of the international effort to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Associated Press