Since Donald Trump announced last month that he was pulling U.S. forces off of the border between Syria and Turkey, U.S. policy in northeastern Syria has become almost inscrutable. Trump's announcement green lit a conflict between Turkey and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who had served as U.S. proxies in the conflict against the Islamic State (IS or ISIS). Trump then dispatched representatives to Turkey to negotiate an abrupt ceasefire to the conflict he'd started. Now it appears that the U.S. will not withdraw from northeastern Syria, but is in fact deploying new forces to "secure" eastern Syrian oil fields, to unknown aims. To get some perspective on what has been a rapidly developing situation, LobeLog spoke with Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and expert on Syria.
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