BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:10 P.M.) – The U.S. Armed Forces are turning the Tabaqa Airport in western Al-Raqqa into a helicopter base, the pro-opposition Step News Agency reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the U.S. military had discussed converting the Tabaqa Airport into a helicopter base during their meeting with the Saudi diplomatic delegation earlier in the week.
The report said the U.S. would transfer its helicopters from the Mahimiyeh Al-Karim base to the Tabaqa installation and make it their regional airport.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the Tabaqa Airport and its corresponding town during their 2016 offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh).
Prior to the SDF’s capture of the Tabaqa Airport, the Islamic State had been in control of the installation since they seized it from the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) 17th Division in August of 2014.
Upon capturing the Tabaqa Airport, the Islamic State took more than 200 Syrian Army soldiers as prisoners. The terrorist group would later march them into the desert region near Tabaqa and execute them.
Tabaqa is also the location of one of Syria’s most important dams. The Tabaqa Dam is responsible for generating a large amount of electricity, which is needed in several areas, including Aleppo city.