01:45 GMT +3 hours26 May 2016
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Two US military Black Hawk helicopters take off from its compound in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul (file photo)

Rmeilan Airfield: Is Pentagon Preparing for All-Out Offensive in Syria?

© AFP 2016/ Mauricio LIMA
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Controversy is still simmering over the US taking control of the Syrian Rmeilan airfield in the northeastern Syrian province of al-Hasakah, near the Turkish and Iraqi borders; although CENTCOM says the US is not controlling "any airfield in Syria," satellite images and reports from the ground suggest the opposite.

A US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft flies over northern Iraq Sept. 23, 2014
US Air Force / Senior Airman Matthew Bruch
Citing the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Dave Majumdar, the Defense Editor of The National Interest, reports that American special operation forces have taken the Rmeilan airbase in northeastern Syria several weeks ago. According to SOHR, the base's infrastructure is being expanded; US helicopters have been spotted using the base.

"The US forces currently operating at Rmeilan might include US Air Force Special Tactics Squadron operators, such as combat controllers, pararescue jumpers and special operations weathermen," Majumdar suggests in his article.

"Special tactics squadron airmen — particularly combat controllers — are often embedded with US Army Special Forces and US Navy SEAL units. The aforementioned helicopters could be from the US Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment — which is an elite unit tasked specifically to support top tier special operations units," the journalist underscores.

The London-based SOHR is not the only source reporting on the US maintaining control over the Rmeilan airbase.

On January 20, Diana Al Rifai of Al Jazeera reported that the US troops have been deployed at Rmeilan airfield to support Kurdish fighters against Daesh (Islamic State/ISIL), quoting the opposition Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesperson Taj Kordsh.

​"Under a deal with the YPG, the US was given control of the airport. The purpose of this deal is to back up the SDF, by providing weapons and an airbase for US warplanes," the SDF spokesperson said.

On January 22, however, a spokesman of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) "denied that US forces have taken control of any airfield in Syria" in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Curiously, on the same day Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm usually referred to as the "shadow CIA," released low resolution satellite imagery taken on December 28. The images show construction underway at the Rmeilan airfield.

​"Before the war, the airfield was an agricultural airstrip used by the Syrian government. As such, its runway was only 2,300 feet (700 meters) long, a length that appears to be doubling," Stratfor's report elaborates.

The report assumes that the expanded airfield would accommodate larger aircraft which would help the SDF to conduct all-out offensive operations.

"The US involvement in al-Hasaka province would not be so unusual; the United States nearly always attempts to establish an air bridge to support the semi-permanent positions of the conflicts in which it operates," Stratfor's analysts emphasize.

Although the Pentagon has denied the reports regarding the US Special Ops deployed at Rmeilan, it is known that about fifty US military troops have been operating in Syria since December.

Though, theoretically, their role is limited to training and advising the so-called Syrian opposition forces on the ground, American Special Ops have also been directly involved in combat operations in the region, Majumdar stresses.

Furthermore, back in October US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirmed that the US special forces will continue to take part in direct combat missions in Syria and Iraq: "when we find opportunities to do things that will effectively prosecute the campaign, we will do that. I'm determined that we continue to adapt to get results."

"That raises the specter of the US special operations forces facing another Black Hawk Down moment in Syria," the journalist warns, referring to 1993's Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia when US Army Rangers were caught in a massive ambush.

"As US special operations forces step up their activity in Syria — the isolated American forces face even greater risks than their forbears," he underscores.

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Tags:
Syrian opposition, moderate Syrian rebels, air base, military buildup, airfield, Jihadists, The Syrian war, Daesh, CENTCOM, Stratfor, US Special Forces, Pentagon, Ashton Carter, Hasakah, Syria, Iraq, United States
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  • Randall Lee Hilburn in reply tochoticastile(Show commentHide comment)
    choticastile, The American all out offensive will not be with regular military ground forces, such as armored divisions for example. Instead, it will be a typical colonialist force: US airpower and special forces, NATO airpower and special forces, Turkish forces, Israeli airpower, American mercenaries such as Blackwater, and of course the American and Israeli hired mercenaries of DAESCH. These are all elements of the forces of "The Empire". They function all together as part of one thing.
  • Randall Lee Hilburn in reply toBlackie(Show commentHide comment)
    Blackie, The situation is beginning to get a little sticky for us here. There is a tenured American university professor who has been fired from his position for posting comments on line (I don't think on Sputnik) that are similar to and no more extreme than what I frequently post. They are threatening to charge him with abetting terrorism. His position is much more influential than mine, so they may consider him to be more of a threat and that is why they are going after him and not myself so far.

    I have already run myself so far out on a limb that there is no way for me to turn back now even if I wanted to, which I don't. So I guess I'll just keep going as long as I can.
  • Blackiein reply toRandall Lee Hilburn (Show commentHide comment)
    Randall Lee Hilburn,
    Randall Lee Hilburn,
    Hi
    Well that is your Native American courage, and you are a person very well respected by all on Sputnik Site
  • armorin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn (Show commentHide comment)
    Randall Lee Hilburn, I read you ALWAYS with great interest, and thank you, and others, by the way. In all this chaos(created by you know who), some times I tend to think that they are bluffing, but heavily, it appears so real, dangerous, so OBVIOUS too...to the watchers of events...The bluff would be part of their face-saving for which I am an 'advocate' (forgive me ,all of you....). They should be allowed in Charity, a great Christian and human virtue, to save face, BUT then, after that, "oust"... as the good down-to-earth French people would say. Nato/Nuremberg is coming, for sure, Nation-building in the geographic space of the catastrophic EU is also coming, re-building of identities, of own culture, languages, all these are coming...in my opinion and thoughts about this world situation.
    WE do not give up Hope.
  • choticastilein reply toRandall Lee Hilburn (Show commentHide comment)
    Randall Lee Hilburn, Yeah, you're correct -- but even when these forces function one, they screw it all up -- as is evident from their warring over the last 60+ years all over the world.

    The tragedy is exactly -- as per Putin's question, "do you realize what you have done?" -- that they don't give a sh1t! -- as its their horrific death and destruction throughout the years, their hidden agenda of full spectrum global dominance, of breaking down (even their own beautiful country) which has kept the petrodollar the king, while I just wonder if, perhaps behind the scenes a helluva lot of pressure is being applied by China and Russia, but especially China is in the position to exert it monetarily and yes, other bigwig countries too are making noises of dissent to call off the dogs of war, and the "Masters of the Universe", as Pepe calls them, are perhaps finally realizing, the writing is on the wall, or the planet and everything and everyone on it will be gone -- their power mad selves included, despite their cozy DUMB's.

    Did Putin not say something to the effect, that Russia will have to cease to exist, before any foreign power again attempts to lay her to waste? (not quoted verbatim). The bankster gangsters not only know he means every word, they know he is right... Their agenda will be void, if the ordinary people globally turn against them as thieving and fooling us forever, has been and is what has kept and keeps their nests so magnificently feathered.

    However, I think what these fiends underestimated ... never even thought would ever happen, is the way the world got to respect and even love Putin --!! That includes a lot of ordinary Americans too, not only their political analysts, journos and a myriad of other intellectuals and ditto from many other parts of the world, including Germany and France, but ordinary Joe's and Jane's. Aussies too, are taking no crap either -- Babbling Abbot is history -- the guy who wanted to square off against Putin -- jeez, was that not the most hilarious 'incident' ever!

    Sometimes the political theatrics occurring throughout the world seem totally unreal and truly would have been funny, were it not that the idiotic antics of the few, have caused the death of so many millions, have destroyed their countries and futures -- not for one- but several generations.
  • choticastilein reply toRandall Lee Hilburn (Show commentHide comment)
    Randall Lee Hilburn, We all applaud you and will welcome you wherever we live if these bstds run you out of town -- Just think of it Russia might be an option for you too!
  • Randall Lee Hilburn in reply toarmor(Show commentHide comment)
    armor, Knowing American history as I do, and having lived here as long as I have I see that the American leadership operates in a certain way and once you learn how they operate you can begin to anticipate to a fair degree what they're going to do. Those outside the US may not always understand what they are seeing because they don't understand how the system operates. Which of course isn't their fault. I have access to certain information that those outside the US and even most Americans don't have. I'm just trying to help others better understand what they're up against.

    I've heard others say that the only way The Empire can be stopped short of WW3 is if the Europeans recover their dignity and self-respect and stop being the enablers and lapdogs of US imperialism. Just like what you said.


    We're only beaten when we give up.
  • Randall Lee Hilburn in reply tochoticastile(Show commentHide comment)
    choticastile, You'll never catch me accusing these people of being smart. But what they do have is a kind of diabolical cunning. These people are what is referred to by some as ideologues. They are driven by a belief system which functions like a religious faith totally divorced from objective reality. This is why they can't see what they've done, they can only see the world threw the prism of their own ideology. They can't comprehend their own doom, because of their belief system, so there is no way that they could ever change their ways. I have my doubts that they can even hear Putin's words, their faith in themselves and their ideology may not allow it. They do not live in the same reality as most of the rest of us do. I think that is what many around the world who live in objective reality are beginning to realize, even though they may not put it in exactly these terms, that these people don't live in the same world that we do, and that is what makes them so dangerous
  • Randall Lee Hilburn in reply tochoticastile(Show commentHide comment)
    choticastile, I appreciate the offer. I'll keep it in mind. I am personally a big believer in fate, so I'll see what the Fates dictate.
  • FlorianGeyer
    Does anyone know the manufacturer of American Body Bags ?

    I would like to buy some shares in the company as the US Military will be buying a lot of them if they engage in Syria.

    Never let a way to earn a dollar go to waste. Business is business after all, lol.
  • choticastilein reply toRandall Lee Hilburn (Show commentHide comment)
    Randall Lee Hilburn, You said:- "You'll never catch me accusing these people of being smart. But what they do have is a kind of diabolical cunning. These people are what is referred to by some as ideologues. They are driven by a belief system which functions like a religious faith totally divorced from objective reality. This is why they can't see what they've done, they can only see the world threw the prism of their own ideology."

    Absolutely agree. Old gravel voice Alex Jones, sneaked up on them when they were having some ritualistic meeting ... read it a few years ago, but it was very good. He escaped by the skin of his teeth, as he was so stunned by what he saw, that he almost forgot they had security and dogs out -- something to the effect -- Anyway, must still be found somewhere on the net -- maybe even in Info-Wars archives. I liked Alex Jones' life coverage on Benghazi -- although many people run him down as a shill, he's not. Paul Craig Roberts sanctions him too... But you are right people of weak character, make up for their weakness with cunning and as you say, because for them there is only one reality -- their own -- which is not real, that is why they're so dangerous -- especially too as money is no obstacle, they simply print more -- everything monetary is in their hands. But the global people's WILL -- that is NOT! And there lies the rub -- gives Russia and Putin and the world a chance to defeat them...
  • choticastilein reply toRandall Lee Hilburn (Show commentHide comment)
    Randall Lee Hilburn, Me too -- To me fate and destiny is the same as what is in one's destiny is in one's destiny and it cannot be sidestepped, not even an iota of it.
  • teddy j
    FOR OVER a decade the USA has acted with impunity across the globe -- having successfully made ''acceptable" the fact that its entry, invasion, occupations. setting up bases WITHOUT INTERNATIONAL approval -- in OPEN disregard for the sovereignty of countries - and then setting up AMERICAN RULES and INSERTING american ''laws" INSIDE countries -- while at the same time committing war crimes and INSULATING american soldiers or ''diplomats" or corporate personnel from the LAWS of countries its occupies ILLEGALLY....

    AND FEW IF ANY could even protest and point to the SIMPLE, CLEAR disrespect and flouting of international and sovereign laws of countries...

    yet -- it is ironic -- that BEGINNING iwht syria in particular

    with RUSSIA having the TRUE authority and right to operate and be present in SYRIA at the request of the legitimate government of the sovereign Syria - in order to help REGAIN syria from the USA-INSTIGATED attempt to destroy and TAKE CONTROL of syria

    is now gradually -- and CLEARLY -- being shown for what it is:

    an ILLEGAL, CRIMINAL OCCUPIER of a corner of sovereign syria --

    and in effect - is now being STRIPPED of its pretenses and power to force the world to ''accept american defined rules" -

    it is now being stripped of its ability to ACT WITH IMPUNITY in any country...

    and RELEGATED to STILL try to 'occupy' a small corner of a sovereign country -- and BE SHOWN
    \
    THAT the USA is NOT INVITED, WAS NEVER REQUESTED -except by an minority that has NO international authority to give 'permission' to the USA TO BE INSIDE SOVEREIGN SYRIA.

    NOW-- the USA has to 'openly' act - in occupations -- the illegal occupier -- but can NOT force the world TO ACCEPT it as LEGITIMATE the way it did in iraq ..
  • teddy jin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    Jet fuel can't melt steel beams,

    USA has always bee3n an illegal occupier in countries...

    but in syria -- it is REALLY being REDUCED to a tiny pocket - in its attempt to ''enlarge" its presence from there - having failed to PUSH syria to complete ruin through DAESH -- so now it hides behind the 'permission' of the KURDS who themselves do NOT have authority to just 'give" the so-called kurdistan to the american forces --

    because NEITHER of them have sovereign rights - only the syrian legitimate government does.

    so -- the USA is basically an illegal SQUATTER...like someone who got ''permission'' from another person who doesn't OWN a house being rented out...
  • in reply toteddy j(Show commentHide comment)
    teddy j, I agree. The us neocons love to use sectarianism/radicalism to promote their agenda with the help of mercenaries or real brainwashed people..
  • teddy jin reply tochoticastile(Show commentHide comment)
    choticastile, this is why RUSSIA is a great nation -- we have become familiar with RUSSIA'S leaders and own population openly discussing where 'we made mistakes and must change and improve and not repeat".

    while the USA -- COVERS UP mistakes, whitewashes its MONUMENTAL criminalities and turns them into 'RULES everyone must follow"

    if THAT isn't the very definition of EVIL -- i don't know what is.
  • choticastilein reply toteddy j(Show commentHide comment)
    teddy j, Absolutely. There's a little joke about Rastus -- He worked for a very fancy church in a posh DC suburb, watching the limousines arrive, the beautifully dressed people stepping into the magnificent church every Sunday. Rastus found himself longing to become part of these wonderful people, so he asked the padre if he could become a member of the church? The padre was in a spot, as he could not see Rastus fitting in with his very select, high brow congregation, so he said he'd have to put it to the committee to decide. Anyway, six weeks passed with no answer from the padre. Rastus felt very down and one day as he was polishing the exquisite benches, he fell on his knees and fervently asked the Lord to also allow him to become a member of this church. Not really expecting an answer from the Lord, he was surprised when God replied immediately, "Rastus my dear son, I can't for the life of me think why you want to become a member of this church when they haven't allowed Me inside for many years." Needless to say, Rastus solved the padre's dilemma by telling him he'd changed his mind.

    Moral of the story, as in relating it to the WH -- I think perhaps God has not been inside it for many years either, whereas in Russia He is worshipped with reverence and openly so...
  • armorin reply tochoticastile(Show commentHide comment)
    choticastile, Your last paragraph : yes, indeed, THAT'S the real difference and that's why Russia will succeed.
  • choticastilein reply toarmor(Show commentHide comment)
    armor, I found this documentary a year or two ago -- had it on my old PC, which gave up the ghost very suddenly and could retrieve none of my treasures... worldtruth.tv/in-the-shadow-of-hermes/. Its a heartbreaking watch and won't even hide that it brought much more than tears to me. Let me know what you think of it via email -- if you like. I'll drop you a mail in the morning so you have my Yandex email address, so don't be affrighted ... my mail may also land in your spam folder, so check it.
  • choticastilein reply toarmor(Show commentHide comment)
    armor, Hi Armor, just replied to your email -- thank you! However, used a different email to reply -- so check your spam folder... as it may have landed there. God bless!
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