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Of all the actors in the Syrian conflict, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are perhaps the most misunderstood party. Five years after the United States decided to partner with the SDF, gaping holes remain in our knowledge about the women and men who defeated the Islamic State (IS).

In order to remedy the knowledge gap, Fellow Amy Austin Holmes conducted the first field survey of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Through multiple visits to all of the governorates of Northeastern Syria under SDF control, Holmes has generated new and unprecedented data, which can offer policy guidance as the United States must make decisions about how to move forward in the post-caliphate era.

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About the Author

Amy Austin Holmes image

Amy Austin Holmes

Public Policy Fellow;
Associate Professor of Sociology, American University in Cairo
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Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more