NORTHERN SYRIA -- In Iraq on Monday, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sent in Mosul, killing one. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are close to recapturing the entire city.
In Syria, ISIS is surrounded in Raqqa, with several competing armies jockeying for position.
In the dusty village of Yulanli -- half wrecked by artillery and nearly emptied of its residents -- lies one of the strangest front lines in the world.
The area is controlled by U.S.-backed fighters, but nearly 500 yards away is Syrian regime territory, and they're backed by Iran and Russia. In the opposite direction, about a mile away, are Syrian rebel positions, and they're backed by Turkey.
If you're confused, don't worry, because so are many of the people who live and fight in the area.
Some of the globe's most powerful militaries are vying for influence in Syria. The local commander of the U.S.-backed forces, Shiar Gari, said their victims have been the Syrian people.
Gari says "it will take a long time" before the war will be ended. "We could be here for another ten years."
Syria's bloody civil war is also full of contradictions. The U.S. and Turkey are allies, but in Syria, they back groups that are fighting each other.
The U.S. says its troops aren't there to fight the Syrian regime. But last month, it.
In the nearby city of Manbij, they're battle-scarred and weary. In six years of civil war, it's already changed hands three times.
Ahmed is a falafel maker who scrapes by in the city, supporting his entire family on $3 a day. "We're so tired of war. We feel like we're already dead," he said.
The U.S. sent troops to Syria. How far the U.S. will go to support its allies after ISIS has been driven out is an open question -- as is how long American service members will stay in Syria.
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