The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had deployed large reinforcements near the town of Manbij in the northern countryside of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on November 5.
Manbij is held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SAA established a network of positions around the town along with the Russian Military Police a few years ago in order to deter the Turkish military and its proxies who occupy nearby areas.
According to the SOHR, the army’s reinforcements were deployed between the town of Arima to the west of Manbij and the Aun al-Dadat crossing with Turkish-occupied areas north of the town.
“The new reinforcements consisted of troops and heavy weapons, including battle tanks and howitzers,” the London-based monitoring group said in its report.
Russia is also expanding its military presence around Manbij. A few days ago, Russian forces began establishing a position near the town, right along the M4 highway that links Aleppo with SDF-held northeastern Syria.
The Syrian-Russian military buildup around Manbij comes amid reports of a near attack by the Turkish military and its proxies on SDF-held areas in northern and northeastern Syria.
Damascus and Moscow are clearly not willing to tolerate any military move by Ankara, as this could further destabilize war-torn Syria and create yet another humanitarian crisis.