“The intel that we’re getting from the Kurds is incredible,” said a former U.S. government official with close ties to the group, whose population spans Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. As an example, he cited the Oct. 26 raid that led to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which he said was based on Kurdish intelligence. “That was the Kurds,” he said. (The New York Times reported that Syrian and Iraqi Kurds provided crucial intelligence for the raid.)…

“The viability of a long-term intelligence relationship with the Syrian Kurds will certainly be challenged by the extension of Syrian government control east of the Euphrates River,” said a senior Defense Department official, who like other sources for this story insisted on speaking anonymously in order to discuss sensitive intelligence issues.

“We could be blind, especially if we’re not cultivating those relationships in eastern Syria,” said a former U.S. government official with close ties to the Kurds.