Friday, January 22, 2016

Russia and US airfields in northeast Syria

So if this information is correct, then Russia and the US are building neighboring airbases in northeastern Syria.

"...US officials are saying Russia has dispatched personnel to an airfield in Qamishli and are believed to be trying to figure out if they want that site. Qamishli is extremely close to Turkey, and US officials seem to believe the Turks will object to Russia taking the base.

The reports of Russian interest in having an airfield in Hasakeh comes amid reports that the US has already taken over such a base in nearby Rmeilan, and is busily widening the runway for US military aircraft. The US speculation, then, is likely focused on the prospect of the Russians turning up awfully close to their new base....

Then there is this article about an existing US special forces airfield that is being expanded.

"U.S. special operations troops have reportedly taken over an airfield in northeastern Syria, potentially clearing the way to flow more American military support to friendly militias fighting the Islamic State group.
A small team of U.S. troops is setting up a base camp at Rmeilan Air Base in the Syrian Kurdish region near Syria's Iraqi and Turkish borders, according to local reports.
American helicopters operated at the base over the past couple of weeks as local workers expanded the runway, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The airfield was until recently under control of the Syrian Kurdish forces, known as the YPG, but was turned over to the U.S. to help expand American support for the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is the loose-knit coalition of American-backed militants fighting the Islamic State group.
"Under a deal with the YPG, the U.S. was given control of the airport. The purpose of this deal is to back up the SDF, by providing weapons and an air base for U.S. warplanes," an SDF spokesperson, Taj Kordsh, told Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based international news network, in a report published Wednesday."

Both bases appear to be near a strategic oil field currently controlled by the Kurds and along a supply line used by ISIS to link Mosul and Raqqa.

There will likely be more information on this as the situation develops.

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