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Daesh-held Dabiq in Syria under attack by Turkey, FSA

The Turkish military claimed that it had killed 80 Daesh fighters

Turkey-backed Syrian fighters began an attack on the Daesh-held village of Dabiq in northwestern Syria today, a rebel commander involved in the campaign and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

According to SOHR, Daesh has stationed around 1,200 of its fighters there, while Turkish state media reported that the Turkish military had struck Daesh targets around the area in attacks that also included aerial bombardment.

The Turkish military claimed that it had killed 80 Daesh fighters and that its jets had destroyed two makeshift barracks used by the militants as well as three other buildings.

Ankara launched "Operation Euphrates Shield" last August that saw it deploy military assets to northern Syria in support of moderate Syrian groups opposed to President Bashar Al-Assad such as the Free Syrian Army.

Turkey has stated that its military operations in northern Syria are designed to push Daesh away from its border, as well as to secure the western back of the Euphrates River from Kurdish fighters it says are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK have engaged in a bloody separatist struggle against the Turkish state for decades, and are recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom and the EU.

The FSA and their Turkish backers will likely attempt to seize Dabiq before their main operational objective of Al-Bab, 30 kilometres northeast of the besieged opposition-held eastern districts of Aleppo.

Dabiq is symbolically important to the militant group because they believe it is the site of an Islamic prophecy that will see a battle to destroy the "Roman" enemies of Islam. A related area, Amaq, is also mentioned, and these two areas serve as the names for Daesh's media products and news agencies.

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