A delegation of the US-led coalition, accompanied by commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), inspected the Tabqa airbase on June 15 as a part of ongoing preparations to deploy troops there, Step News has revealed.
“The delegation made an inspection tour with the aim of establishing a helicopter base for the [US-led] international coalition,” a reporter for the pro-opposition outlet said.
According to the reporter, the coalition wants to move its troops and helicopters from a base located in the al-Karin reserve to the Tabqah airport due to its larger space and better protection.
The SDF liberated the Tabqah airbase from ISIS on March 26, 2017 following weeks of clashes. The terrorist group captured the airbase in 2014 after massacring hundreds of Syrian soldiers.
Last April, opposition activists released a video showing SDF units removing the wreckage of several warplanes from the Tabqah airport. This measure was apparently taken to prepare the airbase for a possible deployment of US-led coalition forces.
The US-led coalition efforts to expand its presence in northeastern Syria are an example of how U.S. President Donald Trump made a U-turn in his Syria police, after ordering a full withdrawal from the war-torn country last year.