Russian Helicopters Land at Former US Military Base in Northern Syria
12:18 22.10.2019(updated 12:41 22.10.2019)
The American forces had to abandon their facility at the destroyed airfield as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) left the area amid intense clashes with the Turkish Army this month.
Russian Aerospace Forces helicopters have landed at the Tabqa Airfield in the Raqqa Province of Syria, at what was formerly a US military base. The facility is secured by the Syrian Arab Army and militants allied with Damascus.
According to one of the Syrian officers guarding the compound, Daesh terrorists destroyed the landing strip after seizing the base in 2014. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces claimed the area in 2017, allowing the American military to base there.
Turkish Operation Peace Spring, launched on 9 October, caused a significant drawback for militant factions, including US allies in the region. The shift allowed the Syrian military to reclaim several cities after striking a deal with the Kurdish self-defence forces.
Ankara suspended its offensive in Northern Syria, for five days, but promised to continue its battle against the militants despite US sanctions and EU arms sales restrictions.
Addressing the situation in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to fight Daesh terrorists in the region, as well as against the Kurdish-led SDF. Turkish authorities, consider the Kurdish forces to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting against Turkey since 1984, to create an independent Kurdish state in the Middle East, and is banned by Ankara as a terror group.
Damascus also condemned the operation as Turkey, unlike Russia, carries out operations in Syria without permission from the Syrian government.
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