US applauds liberation of Dabiq from ISIL
AFP photoThe United States has applauded Turkey and Ankara-backed Syrian rebels after they took control of Syria’s symbolically important town of Dabiq from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“We applaud the Turkish and Syrian opposition forces that took part in the battle to liberate the people of Dabiq from ISIL oppression,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters on Oct. 17.
In his speech, Cook also referred to U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s statement on Oct. 16 in which the secretary said the Department of Defense particularly appreciates “the close coordination we’ve had with Turkey in this effort.”
Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters seized control of nine areas, including the village of Dabiq, from ISIL on Oct. 16, allowing Turkey to secure the border between the Turkish province of Kilis and the district of Karkamış, the Turkish Armed Forces said Oct. 17.
Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces, supported by the coalition, liberated six towns and villages from ISIL, including the town of Dabiq, Cook said.
“Freeing Dabiq over the weekend holds military and symbolic significance,” Cook said. “Dabiq was so important to ISIL’s propaganda machine that the terror group’s magazine was named after this town.”
Dabiq, about 40 kilometers northeast of Aleppo and around 10 kilometers south of Syria’s border with Turkey, is symbolically important to ISIL because the group believes it will be the site of an apocalyptic battle with non-Muslims.