‘US expanding air strip’ in north Syria

Stratfor satellite image showing Rmeilan in SyriaImage copyright

Satellite images appearing to show the US expanding a formerly disused air strip in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria have been seen by the BBC.

The image, from the security analysts Stratfor, shows a runway near the town of Rmeilan being extended from 700m (half a mile) to 1.3km.

That would be long enough to land a Hercules aircraft.

BBC Arabic security correspondent Murad Shishani says it could be a new US move against the so-called Islamic State.

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Rumours of US military activity in the area have been circulating for weeks, Stratfor says.

Rmeilan is in Hassakeh province in north-east Syria.

A US-led coalition of of Western and Middle Eastern countries began air strikes against IS in Iraq in August 2014 and in Syria a month later.

Turkey has allowed the US to use its Incirlik airbase, in the south of the country, near north-west Syria.

Russia began carrying out its own air strikes in Syria in September 2015 after a request from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He has clung on to power despite more than four years of civil war. Russia has an airbase at Latakia, in western Syria.

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