Skip to main content

Report: Russia building new military base in northeast Syria

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the news coincides with tensions between Kurdish and Russian forces over the M4 highway.
Russian and Syrian forces are seen in the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa, Syria July 7, 2018.REUTERS/ Omar Sanadiki - RC1BD48D1A50

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 Russians from passing through — creating tensions. Turkey and Russia have 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 trying to 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.

The SDF does not fight Russia, though, and its primary enemies are the Islamic State (IS) and Turkey. Turkey attacked northeast Syria in October due to its opposition to Kurdish groups being stationed along its border and IS continues attacks in the area. The SDF received help from Russia’s ally, the Syrian government, during the battle with Turkey and the Syrian government rules some parts of the otherwise SDF-controlled cities of Qamishli and Hasakah.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported today that Russia prevented commercial trucks from traveling along the M4 highway between Hasakah in SDF territory and government-controlled Aleppo. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial