The Latest on the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

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.

A military band performs ahead of a ceremony at al-Omar Oil Field marking the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) capture of Baghouz, Syria, after months of fighting to oust Islamic State militants Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
A military band performs ahead of a ceremony at al-Omar Oil Field marking the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) capture of Baghouz, Syria, after months of fighting to oust Islamic State militants Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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.

An Islamic State militant flag, foreground ,lies in a tent encampment after U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters took control of Baghouz, Syriaon Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
An Islamic State militant flag, foreground ,lies in a tent encampment after U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters took control of Baghouz, Syriaon Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Kobani spoke Saturday few hours after the group announced the full liberation of Baghouz from IS militants after a grueling weeks-long battle.

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8:30 a.m.

U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters fly their flag from a rooftop overlooking Baghouz, Syria, after the SDF declared the area free of Islamic State militants after months of fighting on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters fly their flag from a rooftop overlooking Baghouz, Syria, after the SDF declared the area free of Islamic State militants after months of fighting on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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.

An Islamic State militant flag lies in a tent encampment after U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters took control of Baghouz, Syria on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
An Islamic State militant flag lies in a tent encampment after U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters took control of Baghouz, Syria on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters pose for a photo on a rooftop overlooking Baghouz, Syria, after the SDF declared the area free of Islamic State militants after months of fighting on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters pose for a photo on a rooftop overlooking Baghouz, Syria, after the SDF declared the area free of Islamic State militants after months of fighting on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
A tent used by Islamic State militants billows in the wind after U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters took control of Baghouz, Syria on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
A tent used by Islamic State militants billows in the wind after U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters took control of Baghouz, Syria on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)