In north Syria, Arabs cast lot with Kurds to fight IS

Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gatheron the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Manbij held by the Islamic StateRebels, Christian militiamen, local fighters: a cluster of Syrian Arabs united by their hatred for the Islamic State group have cast their lot with Kurdish forces to defeat the jihadists. Formed in October 2015, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have dealt blows to IS across swathes of territory in the north of the war-torn country. The 25,000-strong force is dominated by the powerful Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) but the Arab contingent has been steadily growing to around 5,000 fighters.

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