Turkish foreign minister says Al-Bab next target in Syria

Laura Christensen
October 27, 2016

Syrian opposition forces backed by Turkish ground and air forces have since expelled Islamic State militants from their last positions along the Syrian-Turkish frontier and are closing in on Al-Bab, one of the last remaining ISIS strongholds in Syria's contested Aleppo province.

A commander of the Hamza Brigade, a Syrian rebel group, said Isis put up "minimal" resistance to defend Dabiq before withdrawing further south.

Now the Free Syrian Army operation will continue, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu, as fighters seek to clear the town of mines, booby-traps and IEDs.

The Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish tanks and warplanes, took Dabiq and neighbouring Soran after clashes on Sunday morning.

ISIS have been mocked after announcing it has "postponed the apocalypse of Dabiq" as the town was recaptured by rebel fighters.

The Syrian Army has capitalized on the fracture, retaking over a third of the territory it had lost over five weeks.

Video footage showed the streets of the town virtually deserted, with black IS flags painted on the facades of buildings as well as jihadist graffiti.

ISIS took control of the town, which had a prewar population of about 3,000 people, in August 2014.

Muslims believe that Prophet Mohammed said that "the last hour will not come" until Muslims vanquish the Romans at "Dabiq" on their way to conquer Constantinople or the modern-day Istanbul. Every new edition opens with a quote by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the late leader of the ISIL precursor, the Islamic State of Iraq.

"They retreated without a fight", he said.

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A suspected Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up during an anti-terror raid in the Turkish city of Gaziantep on Sunday, killing three police officers, officials said.

The Levant Front, another group in the Turkish-backed offensive, published images from inside Dabiq shortly after the announcement, showing deserted streets and terrain.

The Observatory said at least four people were killed in raids on the city's east on Sunday.

Air strikes on rebel-held eastern areas killed 19 people, including 15 civilians, and wounded 23, it added.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said that Dabiq's liberation was a "strategic and symbolic victory" against Islamic State.

Battle in Yahmoul on October 10.

Fighting continued in Aleppo's outskirts and city centre yesterday, said the Observatory.

"There are a lot of measures that we're proposing including extra measures on the regime and their supporters", Mr Johnson said.

Free Syrian Army fighters.

Other reports by My Hot News

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