On December 25, Syrian Army soldiers, backed up by Russian servicemen, entered the village of Arima in the northern province of Aleppo. It’s is located west of the town of Manbij, which is under control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Previouly, Arima village was controlled by the SDF. However, its current status is unclear. Pro-SDF sources claim that the village will be jointly controlled by the SDF and the Syrian Army. Pro-government sources claim that the village was handed over to the government.
Local sources claim that this move is a first stage of broader agreement between the Damascus government, Russia and the Kurdish-dominated SDF, which could to be reached soon.
Since the US decision to withdraw its troops from Syria and the resumed Turkish threats to launch a new military operation against Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria, the SDF has been desperately seeking for a new protector from Ankara. The Damascus government and Russia are one of the options considered by the Kurdish leadership.