The Russian military now occupies a Syrian airfield abandoned by U.S. troops earlier this month after President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of American forces from the region.
The Tabqa military airfield had been captured from the Islamic State in 2017 by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, the Moscow Times reported on Tuesday. The publication said “two Russian Mi-8 military transport helicopters and a Mi-35 helicopter gunship” landed at the airfield, as reported by Russian state media.
“The Tabqa airport is a strategically located air corridor that links the key northern Syrian cities of Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa,” Russia’s Defense Ministry-run Zvezda television channel reported. “It takes no more than an hour to fly to any of these cities from the opened airfield, provided, of course, that the runway will be restored.”