The US-led coalition has congratulated the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on eliminating the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS, saying it would continue to work with the SDF to prevent a resurgence of the extremist group that terrorized large portions of Syria and Iraq for years.
“The end of the so called physical caliphate is a historic military accomplishment that brought together the largest Coalition in history, but the fight against Daesh and violent extremism is far from over,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera, the commanding general for the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement on Saturday.
“It is important for us to remember all those who died during the fight against Daesh [ISIS]. During this four-year campaign, thousands of Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi Security Forces did not return to their families. I pray for your losses, and for a speedy recovery of your wounded,” said LaCamera.
LaCamera went on saying that ISIS “have made calculated decisions to preserve what is left of their dwindling personnel and capabilities by taking their chances in camps for internally displaced persons and going to ground in remote areas. They are waiting for the right time to reemerge.”
He concluded saying that the “International support to Iraq and northeast Syria is critical to the success of the enduring defeat of Daesh [ISIS]. More importantly, we must redouble our efforts at defeating their ideology.”
In September 2018, the SDF began its ground operation to defeat ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, with Coalition and Iraqi forces supporting the offensive through cross-border air and artillery strikes. The Coalition and its partner forces have, among other areas, liberated Hajin, Dashisha, and land around Deir al-Zor.
According to SDF statistics, more than 11,000 SDF forces have died in the fight against ISIS. More than 60,000 ISIS fighters and civilians have surrendered or fled from Baghouz over the past month.