US Army CJTF-OIR against ISIS view from helicopter, USCENTCOM, 4 March 2019

US Commanders Welcome Defeat of ISIS

But Fight Continues Against Islamic Extremism in the Middle East

Following the territorial defeat of ISIS (aka ISIL, Daesh, Islamic State) at Baghuz, Syria, US Commanders have issued announcements welcoming the news, but warning of the continuing fight against Islamic extremism.

We will continue our collective fight to bring about the enduring defeat of ISIS.

General Joseph L. Votel, Commander, U.S. Central Command, via U.S. Central Command, said:

“U.S. Central Command congratulates the Syrian Democratic Forces for leading the final battle in eliminating the so-called caliphate. The meticulous approach to the campaign was a multi-year effort conducted in a complex environment led by our Iraqi and Syrian partners, and supported by the U.S.-led multi-national Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.  We and our Coalition partners salute the heroic sacrifices of the men and women who fought together against Daesh, and we mourn the losses of the innocent civilians caught in the midst of their reign of terror.  While our collective efforts liberated more than seven million civilians from Daesh’s brutality, we recognize the fight is not over.  We remain committed to continuing our efforts to pursue and destroy remnants of Daesh, which are attempting to live on as an insurgency.  We will continue our collective fight to bring about the enduring defeat of ISIS.”

Statement From the Acting Secretary of Defense on Territory Once Held by ISIS

We are inspired by the battlefield success of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan made the following statement via the Department of Defense on 23 March 2018:

“We are inspired by the battlefield success of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Today’s SDF announcement that the liberation of the territory once held by ISIS in Iraq and Syria is 100 percent complete confirms that more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria have been cleared of ISIS since January 2017 and the terror group no longer controls populated areas.

“Now is an appropriate time to recognize the SDF who led the fight against ISIS in Syria, the Iraqi Security Forces who led the fight in Iraq, and the Coalition and U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have fought bravely in support of our partners over the last few years.

“While this is a critical milestone in the fight against ISIS, we understand our work is far from complete.  As the D-ISIS campaign in northeast Syria transitions from liberating territory to enabling local security and preventing resurgent ISIS networks, we will continue to work by, with, and through our partners and allies to enable stabilization efforts.

“We will continue our work with the Global Coalition to deny ISIS safe haven anywhere in the world. We remain committed to ISIS’s enduring defeat and we are confident that we will prevail.”

Thousands of ISIS fighters are known to have escaped the final battle at Baghuz and are continuing to promote Islamic extremism across the world.

Sources: US official sources.

Image: A Coalition Forces member surveys the landscape while manning an M240H machine gun as a distant fire releases smoke into the sky in Southwest Asia, Mar. 4, 2019. Coalition Forces maintain situational awareness and readiness to engage the Islamic State on the ground and in the air. Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, along with partner forces, remains committed to the enduring defeat of the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Ray Boyington)