The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is preparing to enter the city of Manbij, which is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Russian RT TV reported on December 27 citing Syrian activists.
According to the activists, the SAA deployed additional units of the elite Republican Guards west of Manbij in the last few hours. A day earlier, hundreds of well-equipped soldiers from the 1st Division and the Republican Guards were deployed in the same area.
— IvanSidorenko1 (@IvanSidorenko1) December 27, 2018
On the other side of the border, Turkey continued its military buildup in the southern province of Kilis and deployed more than ten modernized battle tanks and several armored vehicles and bulldozers. These forces are expected to participated in the upcoming attack against Kurdish forces in Manbij.
Last week, a spokeswoman for SDF said that the group does not oppose the return of the Damascus government’s institutions to Manbij. A deal between the Kurdish-dominated group and the government will likely prevent a Turkish attack. However, local observers believe that the SDF will have to compromise on the “self-administration” issue.