The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Command held a press conference and announced the complete liberation of Raqqa from ISIS gangs officially. Democratic Northern Syrian Federation Constituent Assembly Co-chair Mansur Selûm, Democratic Northern Syrian Federation Executive Council Co-chair Foza Yusuf, Democratic Syrian Council Co-chair İlham Ehmed, representatives Raqqa Civilian Council, Manbij Civilian Council and various Northern Syrian institutions and organizations and many journalists were present in the announcement.
SDF Spokesperson Colonel Talal Silo read the statement in the name of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The full text is as follows:
“In the name of the SDF General Command, from the heart of Raqqa and with our heads held high in pride, today we announce the victory of liberation for Syria’s city of Raqqa by our forces who have defeated the terrorist ISIS gangs in the Great War.
VICTORY GIFTED TO THE MARTYRS
We gift this historic victory to all humanity, but in particular to the families of the martyrs who have suffered immensely from the terror in Syria.
We bow in respect for the spirit of our heroic martyrs who fought bravely in their victorious role in the liberation of the city. We also salute our heroic fighters who were wounded in this fight and offer our gratitude. We wish them a swift recovery. We hope they will take their place again on the battlefield as soon as possible. Those who made this sacred victory possible are the martyrs of the Operation to Liberate Raqqa. In these lands, 655 young people, Syrian Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Syriacs and Americans, Britons, and other internationalist fighters, have their bloods mixed together. During the liberation process, 450 thousand Raqqan civilians were removed from the city successfully and moved into safe areas.
We offer our gratitude to all the forces and groups under the SDF umbrella and who supported the SDF, the Shengal Women’s Units YJŞ, Shengal Resistance Units YBŞ, Asayish and Self Defense Forces, Popular Defense Forces, HPC and internationalist brigades. We also thank the International Coalition Forces and other military counsel groups who offered land support.
We also salute all the journalists who worked to fulfil their duty to humanity to announce the truth to the world public with all they have.
ADMINISTRATION TO BE HANDED OVER TO CIVILIAN COUNCIL
We think very highly of the support offered by the Raqqa Civilian Council, regional opinion leaders and sheiks to our forces. Our achievement is a victory against vile terrorists. The liberation of Raqqa was the final phase of the epic war against ISIS terror. This epic started with the Kobanê resistance. This spirit of resistance is the same spirit displayed by the fighters in the resistance areas of Kobanê by the fighters for 134 days. In that resistance, the fighters managed to defeat the most vile terrorist organization in the world. The second defeat of the terrorists has been with Raqqa, and that lasted 134 days too. With this, the largest terrorist organization threatening and endangering the whole of humanity has been destroyed.
As the SDF Command, we state that we will be handing over the administration of Raqqa to the Raqqa Civilian Council. We will be handing over security to Raqqa Domestic Security Forces to ensure the safety of civilians in the city. We promise to defend the state and all its borders against all threats. The Raqqa state’s peoples will be protected on the basis of the decentralized Democratic Syria so they can build their future. This way, the city’s people will be governing themselves.
We are calling on all peace loving forces, states and international human rights organizations to participate in the efforts to rebuild the city and to help clean the city in the aftermath of looting.
PEOPLES WILL BUILD RAQQA TOGETHER
With this statement, we announce that Raqqa has completely been liberated. Right now, we have another task that awaits us, and that is to provide for the returns to the city and achieve peace and safety in the city. That can be achieved through solidarity and charity. On this basis, we are calling on all citizens, Raqqan Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Syriacs and all others, to actively participate in the rebuilding efforts and to build the administration where everybody can be represented to develop this rich city.
Martyrs do not die. We wish a swift recovery to all wounded. Death and defeat belong to the terrorists, and shame to all those who support them.”