Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have reportedly recaptured the symbolically important Syrian town of Dabiq from the Islamic State (IS).
A commander from the Hamza Brigade rebel group told the Associated Press resistance from IS was “minimal”.
Dabiq holds major significance for IS 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.
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. (IS takes the “crusader” armies of America and its allies to be the modern-day “Romans”.)
Every issue of IS’s 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”.