Russia mobilizes air defenses near US-led coalition base in Qamishli
The Russian forces in the Qamishli Airport set up the Pantsir-S1 air defense system in the airport to reaffirm Moscow's role in Syria.
The Russian armed forces at the Qamishli airport are bringing more military reinforcement to their base following reports about Russia intending to decrease the number of troops it has in Syria and gradually withdraw from several regions of the country and Turkey's threats about launching a new military operation on Syria's northern borders.
Over the last three days, several convoys have arrived at the Qamishli Airport. The convoys mostly include Russian air defense equipment. This comes a week after the Russian armed forces brought in six helicopters and two fighter jets to their base.
"The Russian armed forces at the Qamishli Airport have started deploying the Pantsir-S1 air defense system in the airport," Al Mayadeen's sources reported.
"The mobilization of the system comes after Moscow reinforced the base using fighter jets and helicopters," they added.
Russia, by turning the Qamishli Air Base into the second-largest in Syria, intends to send various messages.
Moscow seeks to tell the West that it will respond to its support to Ukraine and NATO's expansion alongside its borders by expanding and bringing military reinforcements to a base 5 km away from the Turkish borders. It also seeks to tell the world that its role in Syria is pivotal and that the Western and US reports about Moscow intending to pull out of Syria are false.
The Russian foreign ministry voiced Thursday its concern about Turkey conducting a military operation in northern Syria, hoping that Ankara "refrains" from launching an offensive in Northern Syria to avoid provocations and an escalation in tensions.
This came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed threats that he would target Kurdish fighters that he branded as "terrorists", saying that he is pushing forward with a military offensive in two areas in northern Syria.
Erdogan announced last week that the Turkish army intended to "launch counterterrorism operations on Turkey's borders [...] the decision about these operations will be taken seen."
Turkey defied warnings from the US, with President Erdogan stressing that his country would not wait for Washington's "permission" to launch new offensives in Syria.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched 3 military operations in Syria under the pretext of ridding the country of Kurdish fighters, who have worked hand-in-hand with US soldiers to occupy land in the northeastern region for oil and other natural resources. For Ankara, the PKK is a designated terrorist organization, as it has conducted a series of aggressions against Ankara since 1984.