ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Top officials in the Kurdistan Region warned on Sunday that the world's governments still need to use as much vigilance as ever in facing the remnants of the Islamic State despite the US announcement earlier in the day that the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed the night before during a military operation in the northern Syrian province of Idlib.
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani said in a statement that the death is indeed a victory over terrorism, "however, it does not mean the end of terrorism."
"The international community must be aware that the death of the ISIS leader Baghdadi is not necessarily the end of ISIS. Every concerned party needs to be alert and continue with their coordination in the fight against terrorism and of ending it."
At the same time, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani expressed similar sentiments in another statement, saying, "The Kurdistan Region, as a crucial part of the international coalition against ISIS, finds the death of Baghdadi an important step in ending terrorism," as he praised United States' role and all of those who contributed to the success of the operation.
"The risk of an ISIS reemergence still exist and the groups' activity in the area is increasing and still poses a threat to the region and the world," he continued. "That is why the international community needs to continue their cooperation and coordination in order to cut off its terrorist ideology."
"This must be carried out not only through military means, but also by promoting and advancing education, culture, coexistence, forgiveness, and an end to the system that nurtures the emergence of people like Baghdadi."
The statement concluded by mentioning the Kurdistan Region's sacrifices in its fight against terror.
"As Christians, Yezidis (Ezidis), Muslims, and all minorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have been subjected to the crimes of ISIS, [the Kurdistan Region] is currently continuing its cooperation with the international community in the fight against ISIS and will carry on fighting its ideology to ensure security and peace in the region and the world."
Editing by John J. Catherine