Anti-Kurdish protests in east Syria could endanger US plans

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces defeated the Islamic State group in Syria in March, but the Kurdish-led force is now facing protests by local Arab tribesmen in eastern Deir el-Zour province — territory once held by IS.

The protesters are demanding better services, jobs and a bigger role in taking decisions in the predominantly Arab oil-rich and fertile region.

The demonstrations in more than a dozen villages in the eastern province are limited for now, but if they turn to an all-out uprising against the SDF, it could be a blow to Washington and President Donald Trump's plans to reduce America's military presence in Syria.

Several rounds of talks between the SDF — founded in 2015 to fight IS — and local officials have so far failed to make progress.