“Kobani Landing Zone remains open to facilitate the additional movement of troops and equipment outside of Syria.”
The U.S. Department of Defense has just released some interesting shots showing a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III airlifter loading materiel at Kobani Landing Zone, about 20 miles south of the city of Kobani, Syria.
The C-17A, belonging to the 437th Airlift Wing, at Charleston Air Force Base, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, serial number 09-9212, was tasked with the evacuation of U.S. vehicles, ammo and materiel on Oct. 21, 2019, as part of the withdrawal of U.S. from northern Syria.
Late on Oct. 6, 2019, a statement issued by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham following a call between President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to which Turkey would soon start moving forward with “its long-planned operation into Northern Syria […] and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial “Caliphate,” would no longer be in the immediate area.”
The Kobani Landing Zone is in the same area as the Lafarge Cement Factory, that was the headquarters of the anti-Daesh coalition in Syria. The US base was evacuated beginning on Oct. 15, when the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had left and set fire to their facilities and equipment. Two U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, carried out an air strike on the base to destroy an ammunition cache that had remained there and prevent it from being seized by Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, or TFSA, that along with the Turkish forces were moving south.
Based on the photographs, on Oct. 21, additional ammunitions (coming from some other coalition base in the area) were still in Syria. These were loaded onto the C-17 to be evacuated by air.
KLZ is one of the semi-prepared dirt runways the U.S. has used in Syria beginning in early 2016 during the American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War. C-17s routinely train in the U.S. to operate from dirt runways: Delamar Dry Lake Bed, on the NTTR (Nevada Test and Training Range), along with Keno airfield, is often used to practice landings on improvised or semi-prepared strips in the US.