News Middle East

Saturday 10 December 2016

Isil's key stronghold of Dabiq falls to FSA rebels

Sara Elizabeth Williams

Published 17/10/2016 | 02:30

Rebel fighters shoot their weapon towards Dabek town in northern Aleppo countryside, Syria. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Rebel fighters shoot their weapon towards Dabek town in northern Aleppo countryside, Syria. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

Free Syrian Army rebels backed by Turkish airstrikes have captured the Syrian town of Dabiq from Isil militants, averting the terror group's long-promised battle for the apocalypse.

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The fight for Dabiq was over within hours, war monitors said. Rebel commander Ahmed Osman told Reuters that Dabiq and the village of Soran were re-taken yesterday morning.

Dabiq, in the northern Aleppo countryside just 10km from the Turkish border, is named in an Islamic prophecy as the site of a final battle between Christianity and Islam. It has been a key stronghold for Isil since August 2014.

Propaganda

Isil frequently referred to victory at this future battle, and even named its English-language propaganda magazine after the town.

The capture of Dabiq is part of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey's name for its military intervention in Syria. Turkish airstrikes and artillery have proven a balance-shifting force on the northern Syrian battlefields.

After clearing Isil from its border in early September, Turkish firepower has moved south into Syria.

The battle against the jihadists claimed more casualties yesterday as three police officers were killed and nine people wounded in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep during a police raid on an Isil safehouse.

According to a Turkish newspaper, 80 Isil militants were killed on Saturday as rebels closed in on Dabiq.

President Recep Tayeb Erdogan of Turkey said that once the area was cleared, some of Turkey's three million Syrian refugees could return home.

Meanwhile, the US and UK are considering new sanctions on the Syrian and Russian governments because of their conduct in war-ravaged Aleppo.

After a 10-nation meeting in London, US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said crimes against humanity were occurring daily in Syria. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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