An Arab, left, and a Kurd are fighting together against Daesh on the front lines in Raqqa.
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Arabs, Kurds united in fight ... for nowThe two fighters, one an Arab sniper, the other his Kurdish commander, are each driven by a personal grudge against Daesh (ISIS). Another danger once Daesh falls is of a backlash among Raqqa's Sunni Arab population against the Kurds.The two men's views reflect the differing priorities running through the alliance between Kurdish and Arab fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces, which the United States forged together to wage the fight against Daesh. The SDF has proven a startling success in bringing together Kurds and Arabs. The more experienced and organized Kurds dominate command and some units are purely Kurd or purely Arab, but most SDF units are mixed, with few signs among the fighters of the tensions plaguing their communities at large as Kurdish influence grows in northern Syria.This week, Daesh released a grisly video warning Arabs not to join with the Kurds.THE ARAB FIGHTERAbdullah gets along well with his Kurdish commander."The first fight will be which flag to raise in Raqqa after it is liberated," said Ali al-Mattar, a 17-year-old Arab fighter in the same unit. He said the problem won't be the Arab foot soldiers like himself but Arab commanders in the SDF who feel marginalized by Kurdish leaders.Khaled Hendawi, a 23-year-old Arab fighter with the SDF for more than a year, said Arabs in the ranks of the force don't seek leadership yet.
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