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Sunday, October 16, 2016
Turkey continues to position its allied opposition forces as
powerbrokers in the fight against ISIS in order to counter Kurdish
influence in northern Syria.
Forces Seize Dabiq from ISIS
By Genevieve Casagrande
Turkey continues to position its allied opposition forces as powerbrokers in the fight against ISIS in order to counter Kurdish influence in northern Syria. Coalition-backed opposition forces seized the town of Dabiq from ISIS on October 16 as part of the Turkish-led operation Euphrates Shield. The recapture of Dabiq represents a symbolic loss for ISIS as the town holds symbolic significance for the jihadist group as the site of a future apocalyptic battle against the West. For Turkey, the recapture further solidifies its hold over the Syrian-Turkish border in northern Aleppo. Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Turkish-allied opposition factions have expressed their intent to next push south to seize the ISIS-held town of Al Bab, likely to preempt the predominantly Kurdish U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from establishing a contiguous zone of control connecting the Afrin and Kobani Cantons in northern Aleppo Province. Turkish-backed opposition forces are particularly susceptible to penetration by al Qaeda, however, and their success against ISIS can undermine U.S. objectives in Syria over the long term.