BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — The Latest on the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria (all times local):
French President Emmanuel Macron has paid tribute to the international coalition and its allies after U.S.-backed forces declared military victory over the Islamic State group in Syria.
Macron tweeted that "a major danger to our country is now eliminated, yet the threat remains and the fight against terrorist groups must continue."
He expressed condolences for the victims of IS.
France has been a member of the coalition fighting the IS since 2014. IS claimed responsibility for several attacks in France, including assaults in Paris in 2015 that killed more than 130 people.
A senior U.S. diplomat says the territorial defeat of the Islamic State group is a "critical milestone" that delivers a crushing and strategic blow to the extremist group.
William Roebuck, the State Department's official in charge of Syria, adds, however, that the campaign against IS is not over, saying the group remains a significant threat in the region.
"We still have much work to do to achieve an enduring defeat of IS," Roebuck said Saturday at a ceremony in eastern Syria's al-Omar oil field base, celebrating victory over the group in Baghouz, IS' last stronghold in Syria.
Roebuck promised continued support to America's local partners in Syria to continue fighting IS.
A Kurdish commander has formally announced the "physical defeat" of the Islamic State group and appealed for continued assistance until the full eradication of the extremist group.
General Mazloum Kobani, the commander-in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, says his forces have destroyed the group's so-called caliphate after liberating their last stronghold in the village of Baghouz.
The SDF has been Washington's partner on the ground in Syria, spearheading the fight against the Islamic State group for the past five years.
"We are proud of what we have accomplished," Kobani said at a press conference in eastern Syria, citing the sacrifices and bravery of SDF fighters.
Kobani spoke Saturday few hours after the group announced the full liberation of Baghouz from IS militants after a grueling weeks-long battle.
U.S.-backed forces have declared military victory over the Islamic State group in Syria after liberating the last pocket of territory held by the militants, marking the end of a brutal self-styled caliphate the group carved out in large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
After weeks of heavy fighting, the tent camp where the militants had made their final stand in the village of Baghouz was, by Saturday, bombed to shreds. A field pitted with abandoned trenches and bomb craters, and littered with scorched tents and the twisted metal carcasses of vehicles, was all that remained. Half buried in the dirt was a tattered shred of IS's notorious black flag, while a giant yellow flag belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces fluttered atop a shell-pocked building.
"Baghouz is free and the military victory against Daesh has been achieved," tweeted Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led SDF, referring to IS by its Arabic acronym.