The support that US forces provide to al-Rukban camp in the tri-border area of southern Syria and to Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra has enabled camp residents who fear they need to remain there to do so in safety, camp residents said.
The presence of these forces also is keeping a lid on a potentially explosive situation, as the parties to the Syrian conflict vie for control of the area, a 55km-radius deconfliction zone where the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq converge.
Many of the camp's roughly 7,000 residents are fearful of returning to Syrian regime-controlled areas, where infrastructure is in ruins and reprisals remain a serious risk.
The deconfliction zone, where al-Rukban camp and al-Tanf garrison are situated, "is one of the most dangerous areas at the present time", Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra member Nassif al-Khalidi told Al-Mashareq.
"It is coveted by everyone without exception, without regard for the lives of the camp's residents," he said.
"The Russian forces want to control it, as do the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Syrian regime's forces as well, albeit to a lesser extent."
US forces operating as part of the international coalition that are stationed at al-Tanf work to stabilise the area and to maintain the status quo.
While it is not an ideal situation, al-Khalidi said, it is a "compromise solution that serves Syria and the Syrians".
Repelling any incursion
Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra's co-operation with the US forces and the training they have received from them have turned the force "into a bulwark against any attempt at military or security incursion", al-Khalidi said.
"Without the support of these forces, the region would have fallen into the hands of the Russians or the Iranians years ago, and this is something the people of the region absolutely do not want," he said.
Joint exercises with Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra have included training sessions on "confronting ground units and dealing with drone attacks, in addition to dealing with chemical weapons" and other munitions, he said.
"Despite the pressures of difficult living conditions due to the withdrawal of international organisations ... the camp's residents feel secure and safe," said al-Rukban resident Raheef al-Khalidi.
This is due in large part to the US forces' support of Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra, "who protect the camp and the entire area", he told Al-Mashareq.
"The majority of the camp's residents trust the commanders of Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra and US forces," he said.
However, the camp is in dire need of food, "especially fresh foods, fruits and vegetables", said al-Khalidi.
"Syrian regime and Russian forces are blocking these items from reaching the camp to pressure its residents to leave it and return to regime-controlled areas," he said.
But with water available from new wells dug with the help of the US forces, "it may be possible to secure these items with the help of activists and those in charge of the camp", he said.
Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra and the US forces have established a strong working partnership, which has enabled them to protect a vast desert area, Egyptian military analyst Abdel Karim Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.
The US mission is not limited to the military action entrusted to Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra but includes providing the necessary intelligence "to deter any attack or aggression by ISIS lone wolves or sleeper cells", he said.
"This co-operation is having an impact on the societal environment in fostering hostility towards the terrorists, since the elements of Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra are camp residents themselves," Ahmed said.
The tri-border area containing the deconfliction zone is a "strategic area for all the countries involved in the Syrian conflict", he noted.
"If this region were to fall into the IRGC's hands following the Russian retrogression due to the Ukrainian war, it would become a gateway for the smuggling of drugs and narcotics, Captagon in particular," he said.
Illicit drugs are funneled from Syria to Jordan and from there to other countries in the region, and beyond, by networks of smugglers linked to Hizbullah.
For this reason and others, the security of the tri-border area is a matter of "national security for many countries, and this is why the US is keen on ensuring security in it and keeping it under control", he said.