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Carter Hails Liberation of Key Syrian City From ISIL Control

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With the key Syrian city of Manbij liberated after a months-long battle to expel Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists, Defense Secretary Ash Carter today issued a statement congratulating those responsible.

An F/A-18D Hornet assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command 16.2, returns to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, June 8, 2016. VMFA(AW)-533 operates and conducts strikes as part of the Aviation Combat Element of SPMAGTF-CR-CC in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Donald Holbert/ Released)
An F/A-18D Hornet assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command 16.2, returns to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, June 8, 2016. VMFA(AW)-533 operates and conducts strikes as part of the Aviation Combat Element of SPMAGTF-CR-CC in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Donald Holbert/ Released)
An F/A-18D Hornet assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command 16.2, returns to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, June 8, 2016. VMFA(AW)-533 operates and conducts strikes as part of the Aviation Combat Element of SPMAGTF-CR-CC in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Donald Holbert/ Released)
VMFA(AW)-533 Night Operations
An F/A-18D Hornet assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command 16.2, returns to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, June 8, 2016. VMFA(AW)-533 operates and conducts strikes as part of the Aviation Combat Element of SPMAGTF-CR-CC in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Donald Holbert/ Released)
Photo By: Senior Airman Stephanie Morris
VIRIN: 160608-M-HB658-412

“I want to congratulate the people of Manbij, the Manbij Military Council, the Syrian Arab Coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces for their success in liberating Manbij city from ISIL's hateful rule,” Carter said. “Their success, enabled by critical coalition support, is another significant milestone in the campaign to deal ISIL a lasting defeat.”

Manbij was a key transit point for ISIL fighters going into both Syria and Iraq, and for its external operators plotting attacks against U.S. allies and partners and the United States, the secretary said.

The Next Objective

“The success in Manbij city will also help reinforce the growing isolation of Raqqa and enable us to achieve the next objective of our campaign in Syria collapsing ISIL's control over that city,” he added.

Carter also expressed his appreciation to the Turkish government for its support to the operation, and he noted that work remains to be done.

“For the people of Manbij city, now begins the difficult job of rebuilding their homes and communities, and I call on all of our coalition partners to help them with that task,” he said. For its part, the military coalition will continue to work with capable and motivated local forces to defeat ISIL and ensure it remains defeated.”