By Brandon Turbeville
The chess pieces are continuing to be set by the world’s two superpowers in Syria in steps that are slowly leading to the possibility of a direct military confrontation between them. That is, if the United States and NATO do not abandon their pipe dreams of world hegemony and the destruction of the secular government of Bashar al-Assad.
The latest chess pieces being moved around on the board come in the form of air bases now being set up and expanded by both the United States and Russia inside Syrian territory.
According to reports from a number of media outlets, most notably Al Jazeera and Foreign Policy, the United States has now taken control over the Rmeilan Airbase in Northeastern Syria, in the Hasakah Province.
The information was first reported after a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesperson told Al Jazeerathat U.S. troops have taken control of the airbase in order to “assist” the SDF in their “fight against ISIS.”
The SDF is made up of a number of participants – mostly Kurdish, but also members of the Free Syrian Army, and other “moderate cannibal” groups fighting Assad and, allegedly, ISIS. The SDF has been supported by the United States in the past.
Hasakah, and the Rmeilan Airbase specifically, are located in the Northeastern tip of Syria, close to both the Iraqi and Turkish borders thus making the base a strategic location.
Taj Kordish, the SDF spokesman told Al Jazeera:
Under a deal with the YPG, the US was given control of the airport. The purpose of this deal is to back up the SDF, by providing weapons and an airbase for US warplanes. This airport was previously controlled by the YPG for over two years now. This strategic airport is close to several oil bases – one of the biggest in this area. Rmeilan airport was previously used for agricultural purposes by the Syrian government.
Satellite imagery appearing to show the US expanding a formerly disused air strip in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria has been seen by the BBC.
The images, from the security analysts Stratfor, show a runway near the town of Rmeilan being extended from 700m (half a mile) to 1.3km.
That would make it more suitable for a larger aircraft such as a Hercules.
A spokesman for the US Department of Defence said its small team in Syria needed “occasional logistical support”.
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Friday, February 5, 2016
By Brandon Turbeville