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For those who are unfamiliar, a civil war has been taking place in Syria for the last seven years. There are three main groups fighting for power:

1. Military that is in the control and support of the current president Bashar al-Assad

2. The mostly secure rebels who want to remove Assad from power

3. And the Islamic State; please note that Islamic State is an extremist group and not a representation of the Abrahamic religious group Islam. 

Within the last month, news on the Syrian conflict comes from the city of Sochi, where Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that Islamic State has taken hold of close to 700 hostages in an area that is controlled by United States supported forces. The hostages are said to come from United States and European nationals and some have allegedly been executed.

However, the most recent reports indicate Turkish and US troops are beginning patrols in Northern Syria with the aim to avoid interactions with the Kurds. The last two years Turkey has pushed into Syria causing US troops to fall into their path. The situation becomes problematic for the US because former President Barack Obama chose to back Kurdish militias to help fight Islamic State despite that Turkey, who is NATO’s primary Muslim ally, sees these militias as terrorists. The relations between the US and Turkey have been strained for the last two years especially since the US failed to orchestrate a coup in the Turkish government, but both countries still see this alliance as beneficial even as the mutual trust continues to erode.

As for the United States at this time, the policy in Syria should become more distinct with the advent of a now democratic house. The debate on the purposes and consequences of US involvement in Syria, which republicans began to overlook could potentially be revived and clarified.

For more info, check out these sources:

  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-07/how-a-democratic-house-can-rein-in-trump-s-foreign-policy
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/18/putin-says-islamic-state-has-seized-700-hostages-in-syria.html?&qsearchterm=syria
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/01/reuters-america-update-3-turkey-starts-joint-patrols-with-us-troops-in-syria-but-strikes-us-allies.html?&qsearchterm=syria
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/16979186
  5. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-09/u-s-turkey-relations-are-better-but-still-strained-quicktake
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/06/world/middleeast/isis-syria.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FSyria&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection
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