As clashes with Russian forces raised the profile of the small U.S. military contingent in Syria, concerns have been raised about the robustness of U.S. forces to deal with Russian provocations and other threats. In response the U.S. has added a number of larger Bradley Fighting vehicles to the mix and increased its presence in other ways, including adding more helicopters, and bases.
The Pentagon has reportedly begun construction of a new military base in the oil-rich Syrian Deir Ez-Zor governorate near the Syrian-Iraqi border. The Middle East Monitor reports that:
Local sources said the new base will face sites controlled by Syrian regime forces on the western bank of the Euphrates River. The sources explained that the American army has started setting up a helipad to provide logistical supplies for the base.
Earlier on Monday, the US army deployed fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the vicinity of the base for security. The new base will be the fourth in the governorate, and the ninth in eastern Syria.
A report by the pro-Syrian regime (and by extension, pro-Russian) Al-Masdar News also noted that “US forces acting in concert with majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia have reinforced their positions in the Ghweiran neighbourhood of Hasakah city, northeast Syria amid tensions with local residents.”
Since recently facing recklessly aggressive Russian forces backed by attack helicopters, the U.S. has also added its own helicopters to support its military convoys and patrols.
The Al-Masdar News report added that, “According to the reporter, at least six vehicles and trucks entered Hasakah from the south as US helicopters flew overhead. The convoy was said to be meant to help reinforce local administration buildings, schools and other facilities being held by US and SDF forces.”