The Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Sunday captured the village of Dabiq, a stronghold of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria, where the terrorist group promises to fight a final apocalyptic battle with the West.
The FSA fighters, backed by Turkish tanks and warplanes, took Dabiq and neighboring Soran after clashes on Sunday morning, Ahmed Osman, the head of the Sultan Murad group, one of the FSA factions involved in the fighting, told Reuters. “The Daesh (Arabic acronym of the ISIL) myth of their great battle in Dabiq is finished.”
İbrahim Kalın, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman, said in a statement on Sunday that Dabiq’s liberation was a “strategic and symbolic victory” against ISIL.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter also welcomed the retaking of Dabiq, saying its liberation gives the campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat new momentum in Syria. Underlining that it is both a military and symbolic blow to ISIL, he thanked Turkey for the role it played.
In August, Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation, bringing rebels backed by its own armor and air force into action against ISIL, aiming to clear the group from its border and stop Kurdish groups from gaining ground in that area.
“Euphrates Shield will continue until we are convinced that the border is completely secure, terrorist attacks against Turkish citizens out of the question and the people of Syria feel safe,” Kalın, said.
According to an Islamic prophecy, Dabiq is identified as the site of a battle between Muslims and infidels that will presage doomsday, a message ISIL used extensively in its propaganda, going so far as to name its main publication after the village.