The United States is treading a narrow line in southeastern Syria, attempting to counter Iranian expansion without exacerbating the conflict or further embroiling American troops. A recent push by Iranian-backed groups toward a base used by U.S. advisors is elevating the prospects of direct conflict between the United States and Iran. While U.S. forces could easily rout Iran’s allies, this approach is far too risky. Instead, Washington should leverage its support for Moscow’s diplomatic efforts by demanding the addition of the Al-Tanf area of southeastern Syria to the safe zones in the Russia-brokered de-escalation plan.
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