The US-led coalition has allegedly returned to the northeastern Syrian governorate of Raqqa more than two years after it withdrew from it to facilitate a Turkish military operation against its own proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the coalition is in the process of occupying the 17th Division base, which is located a few kilometers to the east of Raqqa city.
According to the London-based monitoring group, the US-led coalition deployed on July 21 more than 20 engineering vehicles at the base to reconstruct it. The coalition will also expand the base by building an airstrip nearby.
Just a week earlier, a force from the coalition raised the American flag over the base. More US troops were deployed there later on.
In the last few months, several reports talked about a US plan to return to Raqqa to counter the rapid military expansion of Russia in the northeastern region. Both Russian Military Police and the Syrian Arab Army increased their presence in the governorate very recently in order to deter Turkey who is planning a new military operation against the SDF.
Officially, the US Army claims that it has less than a 1,000 troops in northeastern Syria. However, the army lied about the real number of its troops in the war-torn country in the past.
The US-led coalition have been expanding its presence in the region by establishing new bases and deploying more equipment, including heavy weapons, since the beginning of the year. The coalition is apparently not planning to end its presence in Syria any time soon. While the coalition occupies key oil and gas fields in the region, it claims that its mission is only directed against ISIS.