Statement from SDF commander about final operation against ISIS

Adnan Afrin, commander in charge of final operation in Baghuz to Rojava Information Center, 14 Feb, 2019
Adnan Arif, SDF commander
Adnan Arif, SDF commander

“There are civilians now surrendering to SDF, civilians who were living in ISIS territory. The civilians who are living in Baghoz, it’s a significant number, around 1600. Those who are surrendering are ISIS families. Before, we stopped the operation for them. We removed them all and opened a corridor for them. They left in difficult circumstances, during a storm.

Yesterday evening, we started our advance once again. Those families who remained there all did so out of their own will, they weren’t forced to stay there. When the fighting grew more intense the SDF soldiers advanced against them, it wasn’t possible for them to remain there, and so they surrendered. A group of ISIS fighters just surrendered. They were there against their will. They wanted to leave before, but those foreign people now in the village didn’t allow people to surrender to SDF.

Now, they saw an opportunity. The foreign fighters were caught up in battle and they found a way to surrender to SDF. Their spirit was finished, they didn’t want to die for nothing. Two days ago we were talking about kilometres, we said two square kilometres remained, yesterday we said a square kilometre, but today it’s even less. Step by step our soldiers are advancing.

Now, we talk about hundreds of square meters, 600, 700, 800 meters. The operation is coming toward an end and the eradication of ISIS. But we can’t say an exact day. Before us we still have mines, suicide bombers, and vehicle-borne explosive devices. We have to account for that. We want to avoid more deaths and injuries in our forces, and reach the victory in this operation.”