VIDEO: Rare footage of captured airbase near ISIS stronghold Raqqa
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a predominantly Syrian Kurdish fighting force backed by the US, reported capturing Tabqa on March 26. On Monday, it published footage from the scene, which showed a heavily battered military site, aircraft wreckage scattered around and ruins of fortified hangars in the background.
Despite the visible damage, the SDF leadership seems confident that the base will be repaired and replace the Turkish Incirlik Airbase as the site of deployment for US warplanes.
“Coalition planes will use Tabqa instead of Incirlik,” SDF commander Nasser Haj Mansour told Sputnik Turkey. However, there is no official confirmation of this as of yet.
Turkey considers Kurdish militias a threat to its national security and has attacked them in Syria and Iraq, straining Ankara’s alliance with Washington.
Tabqa Airbase is located near Raqqa, the Syrian stronghold of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
The US wants to eventually besiege the city the same way it is currently attacking Iraq’s Mosul, although without a considerable ground force, the timetable for Raqqa remains unclear.