Army Major General James Jarrad minced few words as he laced what he termed the “lies and cowardice and the evil of its ideology” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria he said to Pentagon media on Thursday.
Speaking via teleconference to the media from the US headquarters in Baghdad, he said the Syrian Democratic Forces liberation of Raqqa on October 20, exposed the Islamic State for what it was. He did say however that despite the crushing defeat that the Islamic State suffered, they still exist and the pressure by the US-led coalition will not stop backing the Syrian Democratic Forces.
And, “together, the coalition will continue [its] support to the SDF as they liberate the remainder of areas along the Euphrates River to the border with Iraq,” Jarrard said.
“This multireligious and multiethnic alliance of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Yezidis, Armenians, and Turkmen — which also includes female fighters and commanders — overpowered, entrenched the enemy and demonstrated courage and tenacity in the face of significant losses,” he said.
Precision coalition air support and ground artillery enabled the SDF’s advance and minimized civilian casualties in the process, Jarrard emphasized.
“[ISIS] has no capital and no physical caliphate,” he said. “[ISIS] is running out of places to hide. [ISIS] terrorists are running away from our partners in the coalition. Their leaders are in hiding. Raqqa was freed by Syrians. Raqqa will be secured by Syrians. Raqqa will be governed by Syrians.”
“They continue to amaze us as we watch them and the sacrifices that they continue to endure to assist the world in eliminating this area of Syria from the evils of [ISIS],” he added.
Jarrad said the Raqqa Internal Security Force will provide local security defense for the populace and to ensure that the IS doesn’t attempt a comeback in the city. They will answer to the Raqqa Civil Council who are attempting to get things back on track again.
Jarrad said the area is still unsafe for the population due to the number of improvised explosive devices, bombs and booby traps left behind by ISIS. Troops are moving as quickly as they can to clear the threat but it is expected to take some time.
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