Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) started advancing towards the Daesh-held northwestern Syrian village of Dabiq on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"We entered Jarablus with opposition forces and now we're advancing (towards) Dabiq," he said while speaking at a ceremony in the Black Sea town of Rize.
Erdogan: We entered Jarablus with opposition forces and now we're advancing Dabiq.We'll establish a 5000 km square area of safety zone there pic.twitter.com/B0i3ukNnt7
— EuphratesShield (@EuphratesShield) October 15, 2016
In August, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield to remove Daesh elements from the areas along the border between Turkey and Syria. The Dabiq and Soran villages are in a pocket mostly surrounded by territory captured by the FSA after recent advances.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that FSA fighters, backed by Turkish tanks and jets, had begun their attack on the village's outskirts.
Daesh has approximately 1,200 militants in Dabiq, and the village is symbolically important to the terrorist group because it is the site of an apocalyptic Islamic prophecy.
— Michael Horowitz (@michaelh992) October 15, 2016
According to Daesh, Dabiq will be the site of a final battle which will herald in Doomsday.
With this mantra, Daesh continues to promotes the importance of this place and even named one of its publications "Dabiq."
However, in a recent edition of its al-Naba online publication, Daesh took a step back from that position, saying that the coming battle for Dabiq between it and the FSA was not the one in the prophecy.
Daesh is also facing an imminent assault on Iraq's Mosul, the largest and most strategically important city it has held since its advance across vast tracts of Syria and Iraq in summer 2014.