The crowd was seething with frustration.
“We want to go inside!” one man yelled. “They told us when Raqqah is liberated we can go home.”
Some of the U.S.-backed fighters who drove Islamic State militants from the Syrian city in October tried to reason with him. It’s not safe, they said. Scores of people have been injured or killed by mines since the fighting ended.
“Haram!” the crowd shouted. “This is wrong!”
There have been many such testy exchanges at checkpoints as the fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, wrestle with the difficult business of governing a swath of territory reclaimed from Islamic...