Russia had deployed at least one 48Ya6-K1 Podlet K1 low-altitude radar at al-Qamishli Airport in Syria’s northeastern region.
The radar appeared in a video documenting the arrival of Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova at al-Qamishli Airport on December 16, as well as in a video showing the Russian-held part of the airport that surfaced online on December 17.
It’s worth noting that al-Qamishli Airport is located in the northern countryside of al-Hasakah, right on the border line with Turkey.
Developed by Russia’s defense giant Almaz-Antey, Podlet K1 is a 3D, S-Band, low-altitude radar with a range of 200-300 kilometers depending on the operation mode. The radar uses a PESA [passive electronically steered array] antenna. The Podlet K1 was designed to detect hostile targets flying at low-altitude, provide early warning and support Russian advanced air-defense systems, such as the S-400.
— charly015 (@charly0153) December 17, 2021
The radar was likely deployed at al-Qamishli Airport to detect any aerial threats, as well as to keep an eye on Turkey’s airspace.
While al-Qamishli Airport is held by Syrian government forces, most of the nearby city is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Following the 2019 Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, Russia deployed several helicopters, radars and at least one air-defense system in the airport. Russian forces were dispatched to the region back then to monitor a ceasefire between Turkish forces and the SDF.
Last October, Russia deployed several warplanes at the airport in a message to Turkey that was at the time preparing to launch a new offensive against the SDF.
Over the past two years, several news sources claimed that Russia is planning to establish a base in al-Qamishli Airport similar to that in Hmeimim on the Syrian coast. According to some recent reports, Russia wants to deploy an S-400 long-range air-defense system at the airport.