In a statement quoting local activists, SOHR said Russian soldiers and engineers were dispatched to the international airport in Qamishli in order to expand the facility and enable the landing of Russian fighter jets and cargo planes. The airport would serve to enhance Russia's defenses, the SOHR claimed.
Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committee (LCC) reported that some 100 Russian soldiers of different ranks arrived at the airport in Qamishli on Jan. 18 with a Syrian military plane.
According to the LCC's statement, Russian soldiers were brought to Regiment 154 base in the south of Qamishli, which is equipped with artillery batteries, radars and anti-aircraft weapons, and serves to defend the airport.
The Russian soldiers would be deployed to areas of Qamishli that are under the control of the Syrian regime, and not the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkish intelligence sources have confirmed to daily Hürriyet that Russian forces arrived at Qamishli, stating Turkey's radars had noticed the plane carrying the soldiers.
The deployment is not a first, sources said, adding that Russian forces were previously spotted in parts of Qamishli that are controlled by the regime. The number of soldiers sent to the area remains unclear, the sources explained.
The reports were denied by Kurdish sources speaking to daily Hürriyet, however, which claimed all communications between Russia and the PYD were being conducted in Moscow.