US-backed Syrian rebels are reported to be closing in on the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, which holds major significance for ISIS as the location of a prophesied battle it believes will lead to the end of the world. It’s about 40km (25 miles) north-east of Aleppo and 10km (6.2km) south of Syria’s border with Turkey.

The Telegraph reported yesterday (3 Oct.) that American, Turkish and opposition forces were 48 hours away from the town.

In one hadith, Muhammad is believed to have prophesied that “the last hour will not come” until the “Romans” have been defeated by an Islamic army in Dabiq. (ISIS takes the “crusader” armies of America and its allies to be the modern-day “Romans”.)

Every issue of ISIS’ propaganda magazine, which is named after the town, contains this quote, attributed to Al-Qaeda’s former Emir, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: “The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify – by Allah’s permission – until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq”.