SDF declares '100% territorial defeat of ISIS'
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pronounced the end Saturday (March 23rd) of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) group's nearly five-year control of physical territory in Syria and Iraq, after flushing out diehard extremists from their last bastion in eastern Syria.
SDF fighters raised their yellow flag in al-Baghouz, the remote riverside village where extremists from many countries made a desperate last stand.
The SDF's victory capped a deadly six-month operation against the group's final redoubt.
World leaders hailed the victory as a major landmark in the fight against ISIS and its ideology, but warned that the group that spurred a spate of global terror attacks was far from defeated.
The SDF declared "100% territorial defeat" of ISIS, spokesman Mustafa Bali said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump hailed the announcement but vowed to remain "vigilant" as the military coalition his country led against ISIS said the fight "is far from over".
In al-Omar, an oil field used by the SDF as a staging base, fighters laid down their weapons and broke into song and dance.
They joined top Kurdish and Arab tribal officials, as well as a leading US envoy, for a ceremony unveiling a monument to their fallen comrades and celebrating the landmark victory.