Free Syrian Army forces captured Dabiq from ISIS in northern rural Aleppo. Photo: FSA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) said its forces captured Dabiq on Sunday, a town with great symbolic importance to ISIS in Syria’s north.
“Free Syrian Army forces have taken control of the strategic town of Dabiq in the northern Aleppo countryside after violent clashes with Daesh (ISIS),” the FSA said in a tweet.
It added that clashes are ongoing in Dabiq, which is a theological heartland for ISIS. According to one reading of ISIS doctrine, the final battle between good and evil -- Muslims and infidels -- will take place here.
Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency also confirmed that FSA had captured Dabiq and the nearby town of Soran from ISIS.
“According to FSA sources, both towns have been cleared from Daesh terrorists,” Anadolu said.
It quoted sources as saying that “the most difficult stage of the operation has been completed and the FSA is trying to defuse bomb set-ups used by Daesh terrorists.”
The FSA assault was backed by Turkish airstrikes, Anadolu said.
According to the US-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights ISIS had stationed 1,200 of its fighters in Dabiq, to protect a town so important to ISIS that it gives its name to the militants' main magazine.