MESOP Syria Daily: US Building 2nd Kurdish-Controlled Airbase

by Scott Lucas – eaworldview – 7 March 2016 – Expanding its support of Kurdish-led forces, the US has nearly finished the construction of one airbase in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria and is establishing a second one.The website BasNews, based in Iraqi Kurdistan, quoted a military source in the Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces for its report.

The development of the first airbase in the oil town of Rmeilan in Hasakah Province was revealed earlier this year, with Syrian Kurdish officials saying the airstrip is being used by US military helicopters for logistics and deliveries. Reports of the new airbase southeast of the Kurdish center of Kobane, near the Turkish border, circulated last weekend.The SDF source said scores of American experts and technicians are involved in the project.The US began shifting support from Syria’s rebels to the SDF when it was established last October, providing arms, ammunition, and special forces. The Kurdish-led force has advanced against the Islamic State in northern and eastern Syria, expanding control over the Cezire and Kobane cantons and moving west of the Euphrates River. Last month, American advisors and US-led airstrikes helped the SDF capture the strategic town of al-Shaddadi.

A spokesman for US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the US was not taking control of any airfields in Syria:Our location and troop strength remains small and in keeping with what has been previously briefed by defense official. That being said, US forces in Syria are consistently looking for ways to increase efficiency for logistics and personnel recovery support.