Fighting Between Rival US-Backed Groups in Syria Could Undermine War Against the Islamic State Group (Military.com)

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    Fighting Between Rival US-Backed Groups in Syria Could Undermine War Against the Islamic State Group – By Bassem Mroue (Associated Press) / Sept 6, 2023

    BEIRUT — The weeklong clashes between rival U.S.-backed militias in eastern Syria, where hundreds of American troops are deployed, point to dangerous seams in the coalition that has kept a lid on the defeated Islamic State group for years. That could be an opportunity for the radical group to reemerge.

    The violence also points to rising tensions between Kurds who dominate the region and the mainly Arab population, opening the door for Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies, Russia and Iran, to try to make inroads in an oil-rich territory where they seek to drive out U.S. troops and restore Damascus’ rule.

    Eastern Syria has largely been off the world’s radar, particularly in the United States. But the U.S. has had some 900 troops stationed there alongside an unknown number of contractors ever since the defeat of the Islamic State group in 2019. The troops, who first arrived eight years ago, work alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces, an umbrella group of militias dominated by Kurdish fighters.

    At the same time, a U.S.-supported Kurdish-led administration has governed parts of northern Syria and most of Syria east of the Euphrates River, including key oil fields, with government forces and Iranian-backed militias positioned just across the river on the western bank. The region’s Arabs have roles in both the SDF and the administration but have long resented the Kurdish control.

    CONTINUE > https://www.military.com/daily-news/2023/09/06/fighting-between-rival-us-backed-groups-syria-could-undermine-war-against-islamic-state-group.html

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