U.S. Vast Military Buildup in Raqqa City*
By Ian Greenhalgh
Local sources in Northeastern Syrian reported that a large number of U.S. military vehicles and troops have been observed in the different neighbourhoods of the Eastern part of Raqqa.
The sources said that a number of the U.S. military vehicles have been seen in al-Mashlab neighborhood that has been recently captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
In the meantime, the U.S. military helicopters have increased flights over Raqqa in recent days.
Meantime, footage released recently revealed that the U.S. is operating an airbase in the Eastern parts of Aleppo near the provincial border with Raqqa.
According to AMN, the footage showed a large U.S. plane taking off and plenty of Humvees protecting the site.
Also, an American flag is hoisted above the airfield which is located in the territory controlled by the SDF.
Meanwhile, Colonel Ryan Dillon, the US-led Coalition Spokesman, confirmed dozens of U.S. military advisors were deployed inside Raqqa city with U.S. marines providing artillery support against the ISIL from the surrounding areas.
He said the troops, many of them special operations forces, are working in an “advise, assist and accompany” role to support Kurdish fighters in battle against ISIL.
“They are much more exposed to enemy contact than those in Iraq,” Dillon added.
He stressed that the number of U.S. forces in Raqqa was “not hundreds” and that they had been working closely with SDF fighters since the operations to encircle Raqqa began.
The Pentagon is secretive about exactly how big its footprint is in Syria, but has previously declared that some 500 U.S. special forces are there to train and assist the SDF.
Kurds heavily assisted by U.S. soldiers and bombers – have captured some 35% of Raqqa city despite facing fierce resistance from the ISIL militants.
A Kurdish commander announced early July that the U.S. Army established seven military bases in regions controlled by the Kurds in Eastern Syria.
Siban Hamou was quoted as saying by al-Sharq al-Awsat that the U.S. army established six military airports and a base on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River, adding that a modern large airport in Kobani (Ein al-Arab) was the most important one of them.
“The U.S. has set up two airports in Hasaka, one airport in Qamishli, two airports in al-Malekiyeh (Dirik), and one more airport in Tal Abyadh at border with Turkey in addition to a military squad center in the town of Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo,” Hamou said.
Hamou went on to say that 1,300 forces of the U.S.-led coalition were deployed in the airports and centre.
Meantime, other reports declared that the U.S.-led forces have several times transferred the ISIL leaders from Iraq and Syria to other regions by heliborne operations.