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The uptick in strikes around Manbij is the first double-digit number of strikes in the Manbij pocket, a crucial area in northern Syria and Daesh's last swath of territory bordering Turkey, in support of offensive operations since April 2016, when the coalition appears to have given support to a smattering Arab and Turkmen groups operating along the Turkish-Syrian border.On the Manbij front, this suggests that the SDF will be able to quickly take territory in the area, but that Daesh will also continue offensive operations against the "hold force".The United States has consistently sought to incorporate a great number of Arab forces into the SDF, both to address Turkish objections, and also to minimize Sunni Arab concerns about a YPG heavy force in Arab majority areas.However, if utilized correctly, the U.S. can rely on a small number of YPG, embedded with larger allied forces to protect front-line positions with airstrikes.The United States also has a much broader incentive to use these Arab forces to cultivate closer ties with other Sunni Arab groups in the area. The longer-term definition of success, however, requires the bolstering of Arab forces within or allied with the SDF to blunt Daesh' presence further west and ease Turkish and Syrian Arab concerns about the YPG seizing more territory.
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