human rights watch

söndag 20 december 2015

Rumors about US preparing airbase in northeast Syria(Rojava)

Rumors about US preparing airbase in northeast Syria(Rojava)

Lebanese daily and a local Kurdish outlet allege that US technicians 
are supervising work on an airfield in the Hasakeh town of Rimelan.

BEIRUT – The US is preparing an 
airbase in northeastern Syria as a conduit of supplies for the 
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition fighting ISIS, 
according to a pro-Damascus newspaper and a local Kurdish outlet. 

Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported
Friday morning that US experts were “close to finishing the preparation
of an agricultural airport” in a region of eastern Hasakeh controlled 
by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“American technicians have worked for more than one and a half months
to expand and prepare the airport with a runway specialized for 
warplanes. Its length reaches 2500 meters and its width 250 meters,” the
report claimed.
The pro-Syrian regime newspaper said that the airbase was located 
southeast of the town of Rimelan, which is one of the YPG’s main 
strongholds and “largest arms and ammunition depots.”
According to the report, the airfield was used by Hasakeh’s 
Directorate of Agriculture for crop dusting and has been out of service 
since 2010.
“This airport will help enable Washington to add an additional 
safe place to land its forces, commando units for example, and bring in 
military support to its allies who are working to finalize control over 
southern Hasakeh countryside.”
The report comes a little over a week after the local Kurd Street outlet said
that the US and Kurdish forces were working together to construct a 10 
hectare military airbase south of the town of Rimelan in the village of 
Rimelan al-Basha.
“American experts are directly supervising the airbase with a Kurdish
workforce,” the report claimed, saying that US unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs) had been flown from the facility to test it.
The report also said that two helicopter had flown over the town of 
Rimelan on November 24 and landed eight US military specialists at the 
Interestingly, the Kurdish YPG issued a statement saying that “two unknown helicopters” had flown over Rimelan on the same day.

The following day, ARA News said that residents in the nearby village of Cil Axa had heard helicopters overhead, although they claimed they were Turkish.

Washington’s support for SDF offensive

On October 30, US President Barack Obama authorized
the deployment of a contingent of “fewer than 50” US Special Forces 
personnel to assist the newly formed SDF, which is spearheaded by the 
30,000 strong Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
On Monday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that Washington 
was prepared to expand its military support for forces fighting ISIS in 
northern Syria.
“I have every reason to believe the president will allow us to do 
more and authorize us to do more when we have more opportunities,” he told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
The SDF—which is manned not only by Kurds but also local Arab and 
Assyrian militias in northeastern Syria—launched an offensive against 
ISIS the same day as Obama’s announcement with the goal of clearing the 
extremist group from areas along the Syrian-Iraqi border.
In the past month of fighting, the coalition has seized well over 
1,000 square kilometers of ISIS territory and marched into over 200 
small villages in the eastern Hasakeh province.
On November 13, the SDF announced that it had swept into Al-Hawl, a 
town that lies on an ISIS supply route leading into Iraq’s Sinjar.
“This is the biggest strategic victory, and it was achieved in 
complete coordination with the [US-led] international coalition,” an SDF
spokesperson told AFP.
Washington has backed the SDF’s recent offensives with heavy 
airstrikes, while Pentagon officials have publicly touted the 
coalition’s advances. On October 12, the US confirmed that it had 
airlifted 45 tons of military supplies to the SDF.
The SDF has now set
its sights on seizing the Hasakeh town of Al-Shaddadi, which is one of 
ISIS’s last strongholds in the northeastern Syrian province.

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar