Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
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With Daesh (ISIS) near defeat in Syria, Damascus is setting its sights on territory held by Kurdish-led forces including eastern oil fields, risking a new confrontation that could draw the United States in more and complicate Russian diplomacy.The eastern oil fields seized by the SDF in October, including Syria's largest, will be a target for the government as it tries to recover resources needed for reconstructing areas it controls, according to a Syrian official and a non-Syrian commander in the alliance fighting in support of Assad.Regional sources say the U.S. unwillingness to stop Iraqi government forces, backed by Shiite militias, from recapturing Kirkuk sent an encouraging message to Assad and his Iranian allies to retake the SDF-held oil areas in Syria.A senior Kurdish politician said government statements directed at the Kurdish-led regions of northern Syria were contradictory, noting that the Syrian foreign minister had said in September that Kurdish autonomy demands were negotiable.
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