Season 2 of “Axios on HBO” airs Sundays at 6pm ET/PT. Keep up to date with Axios AM:

Stories

Syrian Democratic Forces declare ISIS eliminated from final stronghold

The Kurdish-led and American-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) declared the "100% territorial defeat" of Islamic State. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Syrian Democratic Forces confirmed the Islamic State had been eliminated from its final stronghold on the Euphrates River on Saturday.

Details: On Saturday U.S.-backed Syrian forces raised a yellow flag over town, celebrating their victory over ISIS. "Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100% territorial defeat of ISIS. On this unique day, we commemorate thousands of martyrs whose efforts made the victory possible," tweeted Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF press office.

The White House Office of the Press Secretary delivered a statement on Saturday in response to the liberation of the ISIS-controlled territory, saying:

"I am pleased to announce that, together with our partners in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, including the Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces, the United States has liberated all ISIS-controlled territory in Syria and Iraq—100 Percent of the “caliphate.”
Just two years ago, ISIS controlled a vast amount of territory in both Iraq and Syria. Since then, we have retaken more than 20,000 square miles of land and liberated millions of Syrians and Iraqis from ISIS’s “caliphate.” ISIS’s loss of territory is further evidence of its false narrative, which tries to legitimize a record of savagery that includes brutal executions, the exploitation of children as soldiers, and the sexual abuse and murder of women and children. To all of the young people on the internet believing in ISIS’s Propaganda, you will be dead if you join. Think instead about having a great life.
While on occasion these cowards will resurface, they have lost all prestige and power. They are losers and will always be losers.
We will remain vigilant against ISIS by aligning global counterterrorism efforts to fight ISIS until it is finally defeated wherever it operates. The United States will defend American interests whenever and wherever necessary. We will continue to work with our partners and allies to totally crush Radical Islamic Terrorists."

But but but: Per Sami Nadar, the head of Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, the conclusion of military operations against Islamic State does not guarantee the threat is eliminated, Bloomberg reports.