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Readers of SyriaSource are all too familiar with an argument advanced in these pages for well-over two years: Daesh (ISIS) should be neutralized quickly in eastern Syria; an American-led, professional ground force coalition-of-the-willing should be assembled to pre-empt Daesh terror operations in Turkey and Western Europe and minimize Syrian civilian casualties in complex urban battle terrain; and that a post-combat stabilization plan should be drafted and implemented to keep Daesh dead, one drawing on pre-Daesh local councils and the anti-Assad Syrian opposition. The idea was to parlay the defeat of Daesh into a stable, protected eastern Syria where humanitarian aid could be expedited and reconstruction begun, and to exclude the cause of terrorism and state failure in Syria – the Assad regime – from the area.Counter-Daesh military operations in Syria have focused mainly on Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces.Squaring the circle of Turkish-Kurdish animosity for the sake of stabilizing eastern Syria and keeping it out of the hands of the Assad regime pending a Syrian political settlement will not be easy, given the absence of deliberate post-combat stabilization planning over the past three years.Washington should open discussions both with Ankara and the PYD/SDF aimed at a mutually acceptable arrangement for the interim governance of a protected eastern Syria.
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