US forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, drive their armoured vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey.
The stars and stripes fluttered in the spring breeze as the column of American armored vehicles rumbled through the village. Men, women and children waved the V for victory sign. Women ululated. The soldiers on board waved back.
It was one of those hero's welcomes that plays well in the United States. In a region where American troops have been killed by the thousands, here was a rare friendly reception.
On Saturday, American troops in northeastern Syria made a very public display of patrolling with their Kurdish allies near the Syrian-Turkish border as tensions flare over American support for Kurds fighting ISIS.
The United States is trying to stop two allies -- Turkey and the Syrian Kurds -- from mauling one another on the margins of the bloodiest, most intractable conflict of the 21st century.
It's all part of a high stakes power play in an already absurdly complicated conflict that has sucked in the world's great powers, and a lot of the lesser ones.