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Watch: Russian Commandos Take Over Sprawling Base In Syria Moments After US Abandoned It

DATE POSTED:November 17, 2019
Watch: Russian Commandos Take Over Sprawling Base In Syria Moments After US Abandoned It

Even as American forces are controversially "securing" select oil fields in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria, they are simultaneously continuing withdrawal from northern Syria near border areas in keeping with Trump's prior ordered draw down amid the Turkish military operation against Kurdish militias. And that means Russia is continuing to move into locations the US has abandoned.

“We entered the base and took the inner and external perimeter under control,” a senior Russian military police inspector said after on Friday Russian combat helicopters were filmed landing at a sprawling air base in northern Syria, newly vacated by US forces.

“Now sappers are looking and going through every building to make sure there aren’t some kind of explosive substances left behind or some kind of surprises here for us,” he said. Russian state media boasted that the major base is now "under new management".

The Russian military police took an airfield in northern Syria, where the American base used to be located. pic.twitter.com/5T7fpITRwx

— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) November 15, 2019

Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) video showed elite forces hastily securing Sirrin Air Base in the northern Aleppo area, among the largest military installations previously occupied by American forces in Syria

Though flying the Russian flag as they moved in, the MoD indicated Sirrin is now controlled by Syrian government forces, also to be used as a joint distribution center for humanitarian aid. 

Sirrin Air Base in the northern Aleppo, via Russian MoD.

On Thursday the Russian MoD also said it had established a helicopter base at Qamishli after Americans retreated from the area, amid joint Turkish-Russian patrols based on high level talks between Putin and Erdogan. 

And already there are reports that Russia has deployed its Pantsir air defense system to the Qamishli Airport in order to "protect transport helicopters deployed to northern Syria from the Khmeimim base," a Russian broadcaster which first broke the news stated.

Via Russian MoD footage: Russian Military Police secure 

All of these events have heightened continued uncertainty and confusion on the ground over whether the US is ultimately withdrawing from Syria or increasing its presence. 

Scenes of the Russians scooping up American forward operating bases has angered hawks in Washington.

Today in Syria: Russia takes control of main U.S. military facility abandoned earlier this week by American forces on Trump’s orders. This area is south of Kobani and went to Russia under the Putin-Erdogan deal. Russia now also owns the airstrip we built. pic.twitter.com/uO5AHdKMi3

— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) November 15, 2019

Early this week Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of seeking to establish an illegal "quasi-state" in eastern Syria. He made the remarks while addressing the Paris Peace Forum on Tuesday.

“They left in a hurry”, #Russia