US expanding airstrip in Kurdish-controlled Syria: report

Published January 23rd, 2016 - 02:30 GMT

New evidence reveals the United States has increased its military presence in Syria and is currently expanding an airbase in the country’s Kurdish-dominated areas.

The Texas-based security analyst Stratfor on Friday posted low-resolution satellite imagery, appearing to show the construction work under way at the disused air strip in northern Syria.

The images show the runway near the town of Rmeilan located in the province of Hasakah near the border of Iraq and Turkey being extended from 700 meters (half a mile) to 1.3 kilometers.

According to Stratfor the “imagery supports claims of US military activity in Syria.”

On Wednesday, the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the US military had taken control of the Rmeilan airstrip to support Kurdish fighters against the Daesh group.

The airstrip was previously controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

On Thursday, however, a spokesman of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said the military “denied that US forces have taken control of any airfield in Syria.”

The airport is especially important as it is located in the vicinity of several important oil fields.

Last December, 50 US Special Operation Forces were deployed to the Syrian cities of Kobani and Hasakah to “train and assist” Kurdish fighters in combating Daesh.

Since August 2014, Washington and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against what they call Daesh positions in Iraq and later on in Syria.

Latest data released by the US military shows that there have been 9,627 US-led coalition airstrikes as of January 13, with 6,393 in Iraq and 3,234 in Syria.


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