Syrians walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 27, 2017. AFP / Abd Doumany
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A Syrian army advance against Daesh (ISIS) in northern Syria has opened a new link between government-held areas of western Syria and the Kurdish-dominated northeast, redrawing the map of the conflict near the Turkish border.Northern Syria is one of the most complicated battlefields in the multisided conflict.Syrian government forces have now come to the edge of a swath of territory dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, which has mostly avoided conflict with Damascus.The spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, a militia alliance dominated by the YPG, hailed the Syrian army's advance and ruled out any risk of a clash with them.The rebel forces, which seized Al-Bab from Daesh last week, will now have to confront government forces or the SDF if they desire to reach Raqqa, which is further southwest along the Euphrates River.Those forces are accompanied by a deployment of Turkish troops, tanks and artillery inside Syrian territory.
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