The SDF “declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100% territorial defeat of ISIS,” Mustafa Bali, head of the force’s press office, announced on Twitter Saturday morning.
“On this unique day, we commemorate thousands of martyrs whose efforts made the victory possible,” Bali added.
Some 8,000 fighters of the SDF, a Kurdish-led umbrella force of Kurds, Arabs, and Christians of northern Syria, died in the war against ISIS. In Iraq, more than 1,800 Peshmerga [Kurdistan forces] were killed battling the group. The Iraqi army has not released their official figures casualties, but it is believed to be in the thousands.
The bright yellow flag of the SDF billowed in the wind on Saturday over Baghouz, the eastern Syrian village where the final battle against ISIS happened. The force held a brief press conference in the village.
“We end the Jazeera Storm Operation here. We congratulate this victory as a glad tiding to Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, and all the people of the world,” said Chiya Firat, who commanded the operation, referring to the SDF’s operation against ISIS in eastern Deir ez-Zor.
“We finished Daesh on the ground. We give this victory as a gift to the whole world and wish the best for everyone,” he said.