by WorldTribune Staff, October 5, 2016
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has sent 800 additional jihadists to defend the Syrian town of Dabiq, which holds more ideological than military importance for the terror group.
Dabiq, which ISIL captured in August 2014, occupies a central place in the terror organization’s version of Muslim theology. The jihadists say that a battle there between Islamic and infidel Christian forces will herald the “beginning of the apocalypse.”
ISIL’s online propaganda magazine takes its name from the town, and losing control of it would be a significant ideological blow, analysts say.
Rebels from the Turkish and U.S.-backed Sultan Murad Free Syrian Army (FSA) have advanced within “a few kilometers” of Dabiq.
“If matters proceed as planned, within 48 hours we will be in Dabiq,” Ahmed Osman, commander of the FSA, told Reuters on Oct. 3.
At least 15 FSA rebels have been killed in fighting near Dabiq, UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Several villages near Dabiq have been recaptured in recent days, and the Turkish military said its warplanes have hit several ISIL targets in and around Dabiq, including a command post and an ammunition depot.
A successful Dabiq offensive by the rebels also raises the prospect of advances on ISIL’s Syrian capital at Raqqa.