For the first time ever the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Russian Military Police have deployed several units in three towns north of the city of Manbij, which is held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Syrian news outlet, Muraselon, reported on January 24.
The pro-government outlet released a video and two photos showing Syrian and Russian troops in the towns of Umm Julud, Dadat and Oushrie. The three towns are located along the frontline with the Turkish-occupied areas north of Manbij.
“We, Republican Guard forces, came to support the Manbij Military Council [MMC] in the town of Umm Julud, which is located on the frontline with the Euphrates Shield [ES] force,” a Syrian soldier says in the video released by Muraselon.
Last month, the SAA and the Russian Military Police deployed a large force in the town of Arima, southwest of Manbij, upon an official request from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that allegedly withdraw from the town. The YPG is considered the core of the SDF.
The deployment of Syrian and Russian troops north of Manbij indicates that the ongoing negotiation between Damascus and the SDF is witnessing some progress. YPG commander Sipan Hemo confirmed this in a new interview with Reuters.
“There are attempts to carry out negotiations … the Syrian government stance was positive,” the Kurdish commander told the news agency. “We believe they will start in the coming days.”
The results of the upcoming negotiations between the Damascus government and the SDF will likely shape the situation in northeastern Syria following the upcoming withdrawal of U.S. forces.