BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:30 P.M.) – The Russian Air Force has landed at the Tabaqa Airbase in Al-Raqqa for the first time during this eight-year-long war, the Russian newspaper RIA reported on Tuesday.
According to a Syrian Arab Army source, the Russian military will be taking over the Tabaqa Airbase and using the installation to house part of its forces and aircraft, primarily its attack choppers.
In 2014, at the height of the war in Syria, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) captured the Tabaqa Airbase from the Syrian Arab Army; they would later commit one of the largest massacres of the war when they executed over 200 soldiers in a desert region near Tabaqa city.
In the summer of 2017, the Islamic State was officially expelled from the Tabaqa Airbase during a large-scale offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The U.S. military, which is allied with the Syrian Democratic Forces, would later use the Tabaqa Airbase for two years before their abrupt withdrawal from the area.
As one of the Syrian officers noted, the terrorists destroyed the runway, and the Americans who came after them did not restore anything. Now the military is dismantling the rubble and the remains of the broken equipment.
On October 7th, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from the northern part of the country. On October 9th, Turkey has began their long-awaited military incursion in northeast Syria against the SDF.
The Kurds and Damascus concluded an agreement on the joint confrontation against the Turkish military and their allied militants. The Syrian Army was later redeployed to the northern borders and took control of several areas previously controlled by the SDF.
On Thursday, the U.S. announced a 120-hour-long ceasefire in northern Syria that would later be followed by the withdrawal of Kurdish units 30 kilometers south of the border in order to create a buffer zone, which the Turks will control independently. Nevertheless, there were reports of violations of the temporary truce.
American soldiers continue to leave the border areas, as some of them drive passed patrolling Russian and Syrian troops.