US-backed rebel alliance in Syria expanding airfield for humanitarian landings
Smoke billows from an Islamic State (IS) group position following an air strike by Syrian pro-government forces in the Hatabat al-Bab area, near town of Al-Bab in Aleppo's eastern countryside, on January 24, 2016. (AFP/George Ourfalian)
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A US-backed alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters in Syria is expanding the landing field of an airport in easternn Syria in order to receive humanitarian aid, a spokesman told Reuters Monday.
Several reports last week indicated that US special forces were expanding the air base of Rmeilan in Hassakeh province to use it for military purposes against Daesh. The Pentagon has denied the reports.
"The U.S. military has not taken control of any airfields in Syria. Our location and our troop strength remains small," Air Force Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told reporters on Friday.
However, Talal Selo of the Syria Democratic Forces, said that the reports were false and that the landing area was being expanded for non-combat purposes.
"This is an agricultural airport from the days of the regime, we are currently just expanding its landing field so that we can benefit from it in having planes landing (to deliver) humanitarian aid or reconstruction material," he told Reuters.