For Iran and its allies, the symbolism of this breakthrough has been huge.
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Whether thanks to hesitation, poor planning or a total lack of strategy, U.S. forces have been frozen out of eastern Syria, with Iran and the Syrian regime gladly seizing the initiative and securing a foothold on the Iraqi border.It is in this desert outpost that the United States has been training Syrian rebels, apparently with a view to expand north and put a physical U.S. presence in between pro-Iran militias in Iraq and the Daesh-held Euphrates valley in Syria.From here, Washington believed, a Sunni Arab force could be built up to rid the area of Daesh and deny the space to Iran and the Syrian regime.Tehran and Damascus, however, have pre-empted the U.S. plan and, despite three recent airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias, pro-regime forces Friday managed to circumvent the troops at Al-Tanf and reach the Iraqi border.As few as 300 Syrian rebels were present there, alongside some 150 U.S. military personnel.In terms of battling the militant group, where Iran, the Syrian regime and the U.S. go from here is uncertain.
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