Turkey-backed Syrian rebels attack, recapture Islamic State's symbolic Dabiq

Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey may join an offensive to recapture Mosul from Islamic State (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

Syrian rebels said they captured the village of Dabiq from Islamic State on Sunday, forcing the jihadist group from a stronghold where it had promised to fight a final, apocalyptic battle with the West. The rebels, backed by Turkish tanks and warplanes, also took neighboring Soran, said Ahmed Osman, head of the Sultan Murad group, one of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions involved in the clashes on Saturday night and Sunday morning. An Islamic prophesy names Dabiq as the site of a battle between Muslims and infidels that will presage doomsday, a message used extensively in Islamic State's propaganda. The group also named a publication after the northwest village. However, the jihadist group has appeared to back away from Dabiq's symbolism more recently after advances by Turkey-backed rebels put the village at risk of capture, saying this battle was not the one described in the prophesy.

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Dabiq, Syria

Dabiq is a town in northern Syria, about 40 km northeast of Aleppo and around south of Syria's border with Turkey. It is administratively part of the Akhtarin nahiyah(subdistrict) of the A'zaz District of Aleppo Governorate. Nearby localities include Mare' to the southwest, Sawran to the northwest, and Akhtarin town to the southeast.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Amid claims that the Turkish government funds IS fighters, several Kurdish demonstrations broke out near the Turkish-Syrian border in protest against the government's inactivity. These protests escalated during the fighting in the border town of Kobane, with 42 protestors being killed following a brutal police crackdown.

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AFP via Yahoo News