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The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has deployed heavy weapons in the vicinity of the town of Manbij in the northern Aleppo countryside.
On December 25, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights released a video showing howitzers and multiple rocket launchers of the army deployed in fortified positions in Manbij. The London-based monitoring group said the SAA is also building new fortifications.
A second video released by the SHOR shows a large base of the Russian Military Police also located in the vicinity of Manbij city. No unusual activities were spotted there.
Manbij city, which is located along the frontline with Turkish-occupied areas in northern Aleppo, is under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
In 2018, several units of the SAA and the Russian Military Police were deployed in the vicinity of the city to deter Turkish forces, which were preparing to launch a large-scale attack on it.
The SDF local branch, the Manbij Military Council, enjoys excellent relations with the SAA. In the past two years, the two forces fought alongside each other on several occasions, repelling a number of small attacks and foiling many infiltrations by Turkish-backed militants.
The deployment of heavy weapons around Manbij may be a sign of a nearing Turkish attack on the city. Earlier this month, Turkish forces carried out a failed attack on SDF positions in the town of Ain Issa in the northern Raqqa countryside. Manbij could be their next target.
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