A rebel fighter takes away a flag that belonged to ISIS militants in Akhtarin village, after rebel fighters advanced in the area, in northern Aleppo Governorate, Syria, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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President Donald Trump has ordered stepped-up military operations against Daesh (ISIS) and delegated more authority to his generals, but without a comprehensive Syria strategy, his approach risks further confrontation with Syria, Iran and even Russia, according to U.S. officials and analysts.These incidents, however, are tactical, not part of any U.S. strategy in Syria, analysts said.The White House said Monday that coalition forces fighting Daesh militants in Syria would retain the right to self-defense, and said the U.S. would work to keep lines of communication open with Russia.As it tries to craft a Syria strategy, the Trump administration is divided between those who consider Daesh the primary enemy and some officials who think the war in Syria is part of an existential struggle between the United States and its Gulf allies on the one hand and Iran on the other, said a third U.S. official, who has participated in government deliberations on Syria.These Iran hawks, they said, are pushing for a Syria strategy that calls for concentrating first on defeating Daesh, then turning on Iran and its allies, including Assad, Lebanon's Hezbollah, Iraq's Shiite militias and Houthi rebels in Yemen.
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