Amid reports of further standoffs between American and Russian troops in northeast Syria, outside of the city of Derik near the Turkish and Iraqi borders, comes more evidence that the Russians are trying to beef up their military presence in the area by building a base in the Kurdish-controlled territory.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), reported that Russian forces are building a base in Qasir Dib, a Kurdish village outside of al-Malikiyah near the Turkish border. Russian soldiers installed radar and brought 12 armored vehicles to the area, the Observatory said. 

Nishan Mohammad, one local freelance reporter said in an interview with Voice of America, “I spoke with people who […] confirmed that the Russians had expressed a desire to build a military base in the village.”

A power vacuum was formed when the United States began pulling out of northeast Syria. The Turkish military then began an offensive in October of last year, attacking the SDF which is heavily manned by Kurdish troops. The Russians and Syrian government troops, then rushed into the region as well, trying to assert influence.