Mar 27,2019 – JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured, finally, the last Daesh enclave in Deir Ezzor province in Syria, near Baghouz town, after weeks of stiff resistance by the self-proclaimed caliphate forces that had once controlled nearly a third of Syria and Iraq.
This is certainly good news. The bad news, however, is that there are as many as 10,000 Daesh fighters scattered all over the area capable of mounting insurgent attacks, according to US military sources.
The territorial victory needs to be matched by a wider kind of victory that can win the hearts and souls of the people who were once faithful followers of Daesh. This is not going to be easy. Yet, this uphill last battle needs to be won because Daesh forces could have made only a tactical retreat in the face of the overwhelming Syrian forces. It is the heart and soul of the faithful to Daesh that have yet to be competed for and won over, as hardcore supporters may still lurk in one corner of the country or another ready to strike again.
The SDF could not have won this territorial victory without the direct support of the US military that deployed its air power to weaken the resistance of Daesh in the final hours of the battle. With President Donald Trump already on record as wanting to withdraw all remaining US military forces from Syria, the stage could be still set for a gradual return of Daesh militias to the battle scene sometime in the future.
It is the US political commitment to keep its vigil against the return of Daesh to Syria that counts most. As long as Washington remains uncommitted for a lasting support to the SDF, then this final victory against Daesh may turn out to be a temporary loss by Daesh.
The rapid reconstruction of the devastated areas in Syria after nearly nine years of warfare, accompanied by equally rapid introduction of true democracy to the country, is the only way to deal Daesh a lasting blow.