Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters have reportedly captured the Syrian town of Dabiq from the Islamic State group.
The commander of the Syrian opposition force Hamza Brigade claimed that they have now taken control of the symbolically significant town. The chief said ISIS fighters showed minimal resistance to defend before withdrawing from the town.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group, which monitors the conflict, confirmed that the IS fighters withdrew from Dabiq. The group said 1,200 IS fighters had been brought in to defend Dabiq.
IS finds the town of Dabiq significant as they claim it would be the scene of a major battle between crusaders and army of the Muslim caliphate.
According to Turkish military sources, the efforts to capture Dabiq started earlier this month, and Turkish fighter jets and artillery bombarded the town for ten days in support of the rebel group.
Citing the commander of the Sultan Murad rebel group, Ahmed Osman, Reuters reported that the group had also recaptured the neighbouring village of Soran.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said nine Syrian rebels were killed and 28 others wounded during the fighting. The agency added the rebel fighters were working to clear mines laid in the town by retreating Isis members.
The recapturing of Dabiq gives another blow to the ISIS as two of their propaganda chiefs were killed in air strikes recently.
Days ago, the Islamic State group confirmed the death of its propaganda chief, Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, also known as Abu Mohammed al-Furqan. In addition, the Jihadist’s foreign operations Chief Abu Mohammad al-Adnani was killed in a U.S.-led coalition strike in August.
According to a recent study by terrorism researchers at West Point, the deaths of senior leaders have affected the group’s propaganda operations, which was at its heights earlier in 2015.