Turkish-backed rebels have captured Syria’s symbolically important town of Dabiq from the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, the rebels and monitors say.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on October 16 that the rebels, backed by Turkish warplanes and artillery, seized Dabiq after IS fighters “withdrew” from the area.
The rebels also captured Dabiq's neighboring village of Soran, rebels and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Rebels said Dabiq had fallen after “fierce clashes” with the IS group.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed later on October 16 that Dabiq is under the full control of Turkish-backed rebels.
Dabiq, some 10 kilometers from the Turkish border, had been occupied by IS militants since August 2014.
The small town is important to IS propaganda because of a prophecy of an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and infidels.
The group has named its English-language propaganda magazine Dabiq.
The advance on Dabiq is part of a wider offensive by Turkish-backed rebel groups in northern Syria, aimed at recapturing IS strongholds and stoping the advance of Kurdish militia, which Turkey sees as an extension of its Kurdish separatists.
With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa