Russia is building a new military base in the Kurdish enclave in northeast Syria, a UK-based monitoring group reported today.
Russian forces are making the base in Qeser Dib, a village outside of al-Malikiyah near the Turkish border. The troops installed radar and brought 12 armored vehicles to the area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Al-Malikiyah is a mixed Kurdish-Christian area. It is also one of the closest towns to northeast Syria’s border crossing with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
This part of the autonomous administration of north and east Syria territory is the location of Russian, American and Turkish military activity. Both the United States and Russia patrol the area, and the United States sometimes prevents the Russiansfrom passing through — creating tensions. Turkey and Russiahave also conducted joint patrols near al-Malikiyah.
Relations between Russia and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — the Kurdish-led and US-backed armed group that controls much of northeast Syria — are mixed. The US military says Russia is tryingto get Arab communities in northeast Syria to cut their ties with the SDF. The co-chair of the SDF’s political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council, also told the Kurdish outlet Rudaw that Russia wants to create “sedition”in northeast Syria when it comes to the Arabs and the SDF. The SDF is a multiethnic group with Kurdish, Arab, Christian, Yazidi and Turkmen fighters.
Read More: Al-Monitor