A coalition of Turkish and Syrian opposition forces, backed by the U.S., has defeated Islamic State in the Syrian town of Dabiq, dealing a massive blow to the terrorist group’s propaganda message.
Coalition forces seized control of the city Sunday after a two-week long siege. Opposition forces began their attack Saturday, and rapidly took control throughout the weekend. Dabiq, while strategically insignificant, plays a crucial role in ISIS propaganda. The prophet Muhammad is believed to have said that the town would set the scene for an apocalyptic battle between Western and Islamic armies.
“This is more than just the latest military result against this barbaric group,” said Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in a statement Sunday. “Dabiq held symbolic importance to ISIL (ISIS).”
ISIS so fervently believed in the prophetic significance of Dabiq, located near the northwestern part of the Turkish-Syrian border, that it spent significant resources and manpower to seize it during its rise in 2014. The terrorist group would later name its English-language magazine after the town and referenced its importance in propaganda videos.
The siege of Dabiq began with Turkish artillery bombardment and air strikes in late September. Turkey is a member of Operation Inherent Resolve, the multi-national coalition led by the U.S. fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The long siege allowed opposition groups to attack ISIS from multiple angles, which led to the quick victory. ISIS attempted to counter the attack with snipers and suicide bombers, but the guerrilla tactics proved ineffective.
ISIS prophecy stated that the battle for Dabiq would be a key victory for the terrorist group, now that the town has been lost, the terrorist group has lost a major propaganda element and could lose credibility among its adherents.
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