Turkey-backed Syrian gunmen seized control of nine areas, including the village of Dabiq, from militants of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) on Sunday, achieving border security between the Turkish towns of Kilis and Karkamis, the country’s military said on Monday.
“Taking control of Dabiq had eliminated the threat to Turkey from rockets fired by the jihadists,” the Turkish Armed Forces said in a written statement, in reference to ISIL terrorists.
It said that in the last 24 hours of clashes, nine Turkey-backed gunmen were killed and 24 were wounded while “many” ISIL militants were killed. The operation, dubbed “Euphrates Shield” was launched in late August.
The Syrian gunmen, backed by Turkish tanks and warplanes, said they had taken Dabiq after clashes on Sunday morning, forcing ISIL from a stronghold where it had promised to fight a final, apocalyptic battle with the West.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Sunday Dabiq’s liberation was a “strategic and symbolic victory” against ISIL.
Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, when opposition demonstrations turned into a civil war ignited by the US, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and many other European and Arab states who supported – and still supporting – the armed groups operating against the national military.