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Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 5:03PM

After IS collapse, Syria government faces US-backed Kurds

By The Associated Press
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BEIRUT (AP) — With the fall of the Islamic State group's last stronghold in Syria, Iranian and Russian-backed Syrian troops now turn to face off with rival U.S.-backed forces holding large oil fields and strategic territory in the country's north and east.

This puts U.S. and Iranian forces at close proximity, across the Euphrates from each other, amid multiple hotspots that could turn violent, particularly in the absence of a clear American policy.

Iran has threatened that Syrian troops will advance toward Raqqa, IS' former capital, which fell to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in October, raising the potential for a clash there.

The Kurdish-led SDF also controls some of Syria's largest oil fields, in the oil-rich eastern Deir el-Zour province, an essential resource the Syrian government also says it will take back.

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