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Dangers persist as Iraqi border crossing opens and IDPs return

Recent geopolitical shifts in eastern Syria will affect western Anbar, given the porous Iraqi-Syrian border, the recently reopened Qaim-Abu Kamal crossing and scores of returning families.

QAIM, Iraq — US troops started pulling out of northeastern Syrian territory held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in late October prior to returning to the Deir al-Zor region along the Iraqi-Syrian border some days later, allegedly to protect oil fields.

US officials have claimed that some troops may be repositioned in Iraq’s westernmost province of Anbar to continue the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Other troops may be left in eastern Syria, but “far away from the Turkish border,” according to a spokesperson in the US-led coalition to fight IS.

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