To Understand the Conflict in Syria, You Need to Know the Arab Tribes

Soldiers with First Battalion, Sixth Infantry Regiment, Second Armored Brigade Combat Team, First Armored Division, stand guard in the Central Command area of responsibility, January 18, 2021. The soldiers are in Syria to support the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve mission. (Specialist Jensen Guillory/US Army)
America’s options for working with them to defeat jihadists once and for all are difficult.

Tel Tamer, Syria — An uneasy calm prevails over northeastern Syria, as a coronavirus spike and fears of renewed fighting hang over people’s heads. Tensions between the Syrian government and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the U.S. government, have added to the troubles. Most people I spoke with here in November and December asked me what I thought would happen, as if being an American gave me special insight into how the next few months in Washington would affect the situation here. Most people here are tired of war — that much is obvious wherever you go.

Northeastern Syria has

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