Fight against Daesh not over with liberation of Raqqa and will continue until all Syrians liberated, Secretary of State says.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday congratulated the Syrian people and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the liberation of the city of Raqqa from Daesh.
In a statement, Tillerson said the U.S. is proud to lead the 73-member global coalition in the fight against Daesh, which has seen its "so-called caliphate crumble across Iraq and Syria".
"Our work is far from over, but the liberation of Raqqa is a critical milestone in the global fight against ISIS," the former Exxon Mobil CEO said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.
Tillerson emphasized that the liberation of Raqqa marks the beginning of a new phase in the Syrian conflict, in which the U.S. and its partners would seek to "de-escalate violence across Syria”.
He added that the fight against Daesh would not end with the liberation of Raqqa and will continue until all Syrians have been liberated from Daesh and it no longer exports its terror around the world.
The U.S. has supported a number of Arab militia groups under the umbrella of the SDF, including the PKK/PYD, which is considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state.
U.S. support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.