After almost five years since the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) announced its caliphate in Iraq and Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced that the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) has finally been defeated in Syria, after it was defeated in Iraq in December 2017.
After a fierce battle with ISIS in the city of Baghouz in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zour Province, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced over the weekend that the militant group has been finally defeated in Syria. Almost five years after the militant group declared its so-called caliphate that stretched from Iraq’s western province to Syria’s eastern provinces, its control and presence has finally ended in the region.
While ISIS was facing defeats in Iraq up until their final defeat December 2017, the retreating militants fled to the Iraqi-Syrian border and Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zour Province. This prompted the SDF to launch its Jazira Storm Operation in September 2017 to clear the area from ISIS militants. While the operations were halted several times, they have finally achieved their objective: the complete territorial demise of ISIS.
“With this victory, we hereby announce the end of the Jazira Storm Operations,” said an SDF official at the victory announcement ceremony. “We congratulate the world on liberating all the regions including Baghouz and surrounding areas after removing ISIS from the face of the earth.”
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), since the start of the operations to liberate Baghouz and its surrounding villages in September in 2018, the SDF lost over 750 fighters, with ISIS facing losses at least double that number.
While ISIS is now militarily defeated, the remnants and impact of the militant remain to haunt the region.
During the operations to liberate Baghouz, over 67,000 people evacuated the city of Baghouz alone, with many of them now residing in al-Hol Camp, which according to the UN is way over capacity.
Furthermore, over 5,000 ISIS militants have surrendered to the SDF, prompting many countries to worry about the fate of these militants.
Despite all of these issues that are bound to arise soon, the defeat of ISIS in Syria is a historic moment that should be celebrated in the region. Furthermore, the authorities in both Iraq and Syria should begin the process of healing the pain and bringing those responsible for these crimes to justice.