U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near Islamic State-held Dabiq

DABIQ, Syria, Oct. 3 (UPI) — Syrian rebels supported by a U.S.-led coalition are less than 2 miles from the strategic town of Dabiq currently under Islamic State control.

Brett McGurk, U.S. President Barack Obama‘s special envoy for the anti-Islamic State coalition, on Sunday said the coalition was “actively supporting Syrian opposition forces as they advanced” to the Islamic State’s “weakening stronghold” of Dabiq.

The rebel groups were able to take control of the town of Turkman Bareh, which is east of Dabiq, on Sunday.

Rudaw reported Dabiq holds special theological significance to the Islamic State, where — according to one reading of IS doctrine — a final battle between good and evil will take place.

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The Islamic State sent 800 militants to reinforce Dabiq in April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Dabiq was seized by the Islamic State in August 2014 amid a massive land grab that saw to the militant group’s peak in terms of land acquisition.

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