Raqqa, Syria – Russian military police have managed to take over another base that was recently abandoned by the United States in northern Syria, TASS news agency reported on Thursday, December 26. U.S. troops held the former school building as a base north of Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State terrorist group, until recently.
Russian TV Zvezda showed soldiers hoisting the Russian national tricolor on the building rooftop and armored vehicles assembling nearby.
“The unit will be deployed by day’s end and we’ll start patrols today,” TASS quoted Russian military police officer Arman Mambetov as saying.
The Defense Ministry’s TV Zvezda news channel reported that special units were the first to assume key positions at the base in the village of Tal Samin. Bomb disposal experts then inspected the site for mines before the main forces entered the territory and raised the Russian flag, the broadcaster said.
Russia’s capture of the Tal Samin base is one of the latest examples of the country’s troops taking the initiative amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. occupation troops from northern Syria in October. Russia has since landed helicopters and troops at a former U.S. airbase in Qamishli and overtook another U.S. airbase in Tabqa. Russian forces entered Raqqa earlier this month.
Kurdish-led forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, took control of Raqqa in 2017, three years after the Islamic State captured the city in its advance through Syria and Iraq. The United Nations said that the self-proclaimed caliphate’s mass killings and enslavement of minorities were a genocide. Russia intervened against the terrorists in Syria in 2015 after an appeal by the legitimate Syrian government.