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In the past few days American and French airstrikes allegedly killed over 100 Syrian civilians in the area around the strategic town of Manbij being contested by forces of Daesh (ISIS) and American-backed and -vetted Syrian rebels in the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces.The Nusra Front, the Syrian arm of Al-Qaeda, has emerged as probably the strongest and most effective rebel group fighting to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.Russia, the U.S. and the Syrian government seem to want to defeat Nusra and Daesh; but the U.S. supports other Syrian rebels who want to topple the Syrian government; and many of these rebel groups and their local support communities are closely linked to Nusra's fighting capabilities and their common aim of toppling Assad.Turkey further complicates this situation by fighting against some of the Kurdish forces in Syria that the U.S. supports in the battle against Daesh and Assad. The Turkish government has three strategic priorities in Syria that often are in contradiction – destroying Daesh, toppling the Syrian government, and preventing the establishment of an autonomous proto-state by Syrian Kurds who are the most effective ground troops in the battle against Daesh.
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