Russian air force personnel stand near a Russian war plane at Hemeimeem airbase, Syria. AP File Photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Russian engineers and soldiers have been spotted at the Qamishli airport in northern Syria, where a monitoring group says they are preparing facilities to possibly receive Russian cargo and fighter jets.
Qamishli is a Kurdish city in Syria that is smack on the border with Turkey.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claims the Russian personnel are upgrading facilities at Qamishli airport in case Moscow needs another air base in Syria, which would boost Russia´s operational capability in Syria.
It remains unclear whether the airport is to be used as an auxiliary base, or a full-fledged facility, such as the Latakia air base that the Russians have been using since the start of their deployment four months ago.
According to the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency, the Russian soldiers will be deployed in areas in the northeast where the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad retains control.
Most of that area is now controlled by the Syrian Kurds. However, the regime has some small pockets of territory in control, such as a portion of the city of Hasakah.
While they have clashed, the Syrian regime and the Syrian Kurds have not waged war against each other.