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Syria drawdown raises security risks for US troops

The Donald Trump administration’s drawdown in Syria threatens to disrupt a fragile balance where US troops trade military power for Kurdish protection.
U.S. troops patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria, November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RC1F4F72F170

Nearly everywhere US troops go in Syria, the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) provide protection, escorting small units and acting as America’s intelligence collectors on the ground.

“They’re like the eyes and ears for US forces,” providing information on which buildings to target with airstrikes, said Amy Austin Holmes, a fellow with the Wilson Center’s Middle East program who traveled to the country in February.

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