Arab tribesmen in Syria briefly took control of at least two villages in the northwestern province of Aleppo, local sources say, in apparent solidarity with fellow tribesmen fighting the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northeast of the country.

The tribesmen later withdrew from the villages after coming under heavy shelling and Russian air attacks.

“Fighting began at dawn. [It involved] Syrian tribesmen, most of whom had taken part in the Syrian revolution and who are now dissatisfied with the SDF rule in Deir Az Zor,” local media activist Ramadan Suleiman told Al Jazeera on Friday.

The SDF controls a semi-autonomous Kurdish-ruled zone in Syria’s northeast, which includes large parts of Deir Az Zor province and stretches into parts of Aleppo in the northwest.

The tribesmen who participated in the fighting in Aleppo had been based in areas under the control of the Syrian opposition in Aleppo and neighbouring Idlib province, but some originally came from Deir Az Zor before being displaced in the war.