The Syrian civil war reached another tipping point last week. AFP / George OURFALIAN
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A few kilometers apart in the Euphrates River valley, Russia and the United States are fighting separate military campaigns against Daesh (ISIS) – and an underlying strategic battle with each other, the outcome of which could reshape the Middle East. The Syrian civil war reached another tipping point last week when President Bashar Assad's Russian-backed army arrived at the city of Deir al-Zor on the Euphrates, breaking a Daesh siege that had lasted almost three years. Pro-American forces in Syria are dominated by Kurds who seek self-government after the war. Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led militia, said they'll try to prevent Assad's army from gaining ground east of the Euphrates. There's also no guarantee the U.S. will stick around in Syria once Daesh is defeated, so Kurdish aspirations may eventually require a deal with Assad and the Russians.Instead it was the Syrian army that reached the city on Sept. 5 .Soldiers from the besieged garrison exchanged hugs with the liberating force.
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