Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi Security Forces meet in Deir ez-Zor province, Syria, to formalize a security agreement. Photo: SDF Press
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Leaders from the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) agreed to coordinate security along their border in what the US-led international coalition to defeat ISIS is calling an "important moment in history."
The two sides decided to form a joint coordination center to ensure border security, revealed an SDF Press statement on Sunday.
The meeting was attended by Iraqi commander Qasim Mohammed Saleh and his assistant Gen. Abdul Hussein, as well as members of SDF General Command including Hassan Qamishlu and Ankizk Khan.
The coalition's press office told Rudaw English that both sides "shook hands" in Deir ez-Zor as the SDF continue to clear the northern and eastern side of the Euphrates River and ISF continue providing security across Iraq.
"This is an important moment in history..." said the coalition. [Iraqi and Syrian security forces] can finally meet at their border, knowing that momentum is on their side and remaining Daesh terrorists are on the run."
ISIS infiltrating Iraq from the Syrian border was critical to the extremists' rise in late-2013 and 2014.
"A secure international border protects Syrians and Iraqis from Daesh movement into and across the region as the terrorist organization and its leaders flee the battlefield," said the coalition using another term for ISIS.
The commander of the US operation within the Combined Joint Task Force congratulated 70 partner nations and the local partnered forces on Monday.
"While there is still much work to be done, stronger together, we will continue to rely on each other to achieve the total and enduring defeat of Daesh," said Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II. "I'm immensely proud of each and every one of you..."
The People's Protection Units (YPG), a mainly Kurdish component of the SDF, announced their military defeat of ISIS in northern Deir ez-Zor province on December 3.
The Euphrates Valley stretches from Deir ez-Zor to the al-Bukamal and al-Qaim crossing and into Iraq's western Anbar province.
Iraq's War Media Cell posted photos on Saturday of Iraqi forces raising a flag over an Iraq-Syria border post. They also announced full control of the border north of the Euphrates.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimed "the war against the terrorists of ISIS is now over" on Saturday.
South of the Euphrates in Syria, Russian-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proclaimed a victory over ISIS on November 21.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Monday with Assad at an air base in northwestern Syria, where Putin announced "the start of the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria," according to Russian state news.