As tensions with Turkey continue unabated, officials in the region say western indifference is part of the problem
Traffic is light on the two creaking pontoon bridges over the Tigris that mark the only official crossing into the autonomous region of north-east Syria, a little known area of 5 million people engaged in a radical political experiment.
At the border post stands a distinctive billboard: a martyrs memorial to the men and women who died eradicating the Islamic State (Isis), as well as those killed fighting what has become a more serious threat Turkey.
Our martyrs are our honour, the poster says, depicting 40 foreign fighters, including a Briton, Anna Campbell, who was killed in March last year, aged 26, defending the city of Afrin against a Turkish incursion.
An estimated 12,000 fighters from the north-east region died in the territorial struggle against Isis, which ended in March, and a further 20,000 were wounded. What was initially a Kurdish force of ground troops with air and logistical support from a US-led coalition has expanded into an administration controlling 30% of Syria, east of the Euphrates river.