2016 Dabiq offensive

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2016 Dabiq offensive
Part of Operation Euphrates Shield and the Syrian Civil War
Northern al-Bab offensive (2016) (within Northern Syria).svg
Map of the wider Turkish-led operations in northern Aleppo and the wider campaigns in Aleppo
  Syrian Armed Forces & allied groups
Date28 September – 16 October 2016
(2 weeks and 4 days)

Rebel/Turkish victory[1]


Syrian opposition Syrian rebels

 Islamic State
Commanders and leaders
Turkey Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakallı[2]
(Operations chief commander)
Turkey Lt. Gen. İsmail Metin Temel[3][4]
(Second Army commander)
Syrian opposition Col. Ahmed Othman[5]
(Sultan Murad Division commander)
Syrian opposition Fehim İsa[6]
(Sultan Murad Division commander)
Syrian opposition Ali Şeyh Salih[7] (DOW)[8]
(Sultan Murad Division field commander)
Syrian opposition Muhammad al-Gabi[9]
(Liberation Army commander)
Syrian opposition Mohammad Abu Ibrahim[10]
Syrian opposition Mustafa Sejari[10]
(Al-Moutasem Brigade political leader)
Mahmoud Abu Hamza[11] (Descendants of Saladin Brigade commander)
Capt. Abdel Salam Abdel Razaq[11] (Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement commander)
Capt. Mohammed Abu Mustafa[9]
(Sham Legion commander)
Abu Jafer[12] (Brigade of Conquest commander)
Units involved

Turkey Turkish Armed Forces

Syrian opposition Hawar Kilis Operations Room

Syrian opposition Free Idlib Army[20]

Syrian opposition Liberation Army[21]
Syrian opposition First Division of Aleppo[22]
Brigade of Conquest[23]

Other Syrian rebels
Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement[24]

Ahrar al-Sham[24][25]
Syrian opposition 2,000 rebels[26]
Turkey 500 soldiers[27]
United States 40 military advisors[27]
2,000 reinforcements[28][29]
Casualties and losses
89+ rebels and 1 Turkish soldier killed[30][31] 183–210+ killed[31][32][33][34][35][36]

The 2016 Dabiq offensive was a military offensive and part of the third phase of Operation Euphrates Shield launched by the Turkish Armed Forces and factions from the Free Syrian Army (FSA, a Syrian rebel group) and allied groups, with the goal of capturing the town of Dabiq, north of Aleppo from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[37][28] It began in September and resulted in the capture of Dabiq by Turkish/FSA-allied forces on 16 October.


In anticipation of the offensive, ISIL reinforced Dabiq with 800 fighters. An ISIL defeat at Dabiq was seen as a potential ideological blow since it has a central place in ISIL's interpretation of Muslim theology. According to ISIL, a battle at Dabiq between Islamic and "infidel" Christian forces would herald the beginning of the apocalypse.[28] The beginning of the Turkish military intervention in Syria also correlates to the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Marj Dabiq, when the Ottoman Empire led by Selim I entered northern Aleppo at Dabiq and conquered much of northern Syria.[38]

The offensive[edit]

First week[edit]

Map of the offensive

On 28 September, the Turkish military stated that it destroyed an ISIL command post, a weapons dump and an ammunition depot in the Ihtemlat and Uwayshiyyah areas of Aleppo Governorate, while 82 targets were struck by shells. It also stated that the rebels recaptured the Al Eyyubiyah residential area of al-Rai, while ISIL temporarily recaptured the Tal-ar area,[39] before rebel and Turkish forces once again seized it[40] in addition to Ziadiyah.[41]

Between 29 September and 2 October, the rebels captured seven more villages from ISIL[42][43][44][45][46] and had started advancing on Dabiq, with troops from U.S. Special Forces reported to be among them. By this point, the rebel and Turkish force was some three kilometers from Dabiq.[37]

On 3 October, advancing rebel forces ran into hundreds of landmines at the village of Turkman Bareh, on the way to Dabiq, leaving 15–21 rebels dead and another 29–35 wounded.[47][48][49] Between 4 and 5 October, rebels captured Turkman Bareh and five more villages, including three to the east of Akhtarin.[50][51] Meanwhile, Turkish fighter jets reportedly killed a regional ISIL commander in air-strikes near Akhtarin and al-Qubtan.[52]

Second week[edit]

The town of Akhtarin was captured by the rebels on 6 October.[53] An ISIL counter-attack two days later briefly recaptured the town, along with four other villages, including Turkman Bareh,[54][55][56][33] before reportedly being repelled.[57][33] According to the Turkish military, 38 ISIL militants were killed in clashes and airstrikes during 8 to 9 October.[33]

Between 9 and 11 October, the rebels captured 17 villages from ISIL, bringing them within two and a half kilometers of Dabiq. 30 rebels and 20 ISIL fighters were killed during the fighting.[34] However, a subsequent ISIL counter-attack on 11 October, recaptured two villages.[58] The Turkish military reported it had destroyed 98 ISIL targets during the clashes.[59] Meanwhile, activists and eyewitnesses reported that shelling carried out by the rebels and Turkish Army on ISIL-held Duwaybiq village resulted in the deaths of at least 10 civilians and wounded many others.[60]

Third week[edit]

On 12 October, the rebels captured Duwaybiq and also retook a village they lost the previous day.[61][62] Meanwhile, the Turkish military stated that 109 militants had been killed and 77 ISIL targets destroyed between 11 and 13 October, with 10 rebels also being killed and at least 22 wounded in the clashes.[63][36]

On 15 October, the rebels captured three more villages, with Dabiq at this point being almost fully surrounded.[64][65] The next day, both Dabiq, the nearby town of Sawran and seven other villages were seized by the rebels.[66][67][1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Turkey-backed Syria rebels secure Dabiq area, eye al-Bab - MIDEAST". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  2. ^ Turkish Special Forces: From stopping a coup to the frontline of the ISIL fight Hürriyet Daily News, 24 August 2016.
  3. ^ Nick Tattersall; Humeyra Pamuk (26 August 2016). "Turkey signals no quick end to Syria incursion as truck bomb kills police". Reuters.
  4. ^ "Korgeneral İsmail Metin Temel Cerablus'ta". Hürriyet Daily News. 26 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Turkish Forces and Rebels Storm Into Syria, Taking IS Stronghold of Jarablus". VOA. 24 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Sultan Murat Tugayları: Önce Çobanbey ardından Menbiç'e ilerleyeceğiz". 25 August 2016. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  8. ^ "TÜRKMEN KOMUTANIMIZ ALİ SALİH ŞEHİT DÜŞTÜ". 4 October 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  9. ^ a b "ÖSO komutanlarından Türkiye'ye teşekkür". 25 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Albin Szakola (25 August 2016). "Turkey-backed rebels aim for key ISIS-held town". NOW.
  11. ^ a b c "Turkish-backed FSA rebels set their sights on last IS Aleppo stronghold after border victory". Syria:direct. 5 September 2016. Archived from the original on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  12. ^ "41K Turkish soldiers ready to support operation Al Bab". Yeni Şafak. 22 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-09-23. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Çobanbey'in ardından muhaliflerin yeni hedefi Cerablus". AJANS HABER. 9 April 2016.
  14. ^ "LIVE: Turkish military, coalition forces launch 'Euphrates Shield' operation in Jarablus". Hürriyet Daily News. 24 August 2016. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  15. ^ Serhat Erkmen (1 September 2016). "Analiz: Fırat Kalkanı'nda bir haftalık bilanço". DW.
  16. ^ "Syria à la Carte: Turkish Invasion Highlights Rapidly Shifting Alliances-Maximilian Popp and Christoph Reuter". JK Alternative Viewpoint. 31 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-09-01. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  17. ^ "تعزية الفصائل العسكرية باستشهاد القائد العسكري للقوة المركزية في الفرقة13". Fastaqim Union on Twitter. 18 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Turkish-led forces capture first village in northern Syria". al-Masdar News. 24 August 2016. Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  19. ^ "بيان تشكيل المجلس العسكري لمدينة أخترين و ريفها". 3 October 2016.
  20. ^ "New rebel group formed in Idlib". AMN. 20 September 2016. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  21. ^ Caleb Weiss (29 August 2016). "Two US-backed groups clash in northern Syria". The Long War Journal.
  22. ^ "فرقة حلب الأولى - The first band of Aleppo". First Division of Aleppo on Facebook. 18 September 2016.
  23. ^ Christoph Ehrhardt (26 August 2016). "Krieg in Syrien - Die Trennlinien verschwimmen". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German).
  24. ^ a b Susan Fraser; Philip Issa (24 August 2016). "U.S. warplanes support Turkish tanks attacking Islamic State forces in Syria". Military Times.
  25. ^ "fouad sarkis on Twitter". Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces take Dabiq from IS". 17 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  27. ^ a b "With the launch of the third phase of Euphrates Shield, American advisors making their ranks". Al-Watan. 18 September 2016.
  28. ^ a b c "Isis is preparing for an 'apocalyptic' battle to defend the village at the heart of its propaganda". 3 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  29. ^ More than 1000 fighters of Jaysh al-Osra reach Dabiq; sheikhs at mosques declare “Dabiq epic is approaching”
  30. ^ 21 killed (3 Oct.),[1] 1 killed (4 Oct.),[2] Archived 2016-10-07 at the Wayback Machine 2 killed (5 Oct.),[3] 13 killed (7 Oct.),[4] 2 killed (8 Oct.),[5] 30 killed (9–11 Oct.),[6] 2 killed (13 Oct.),[7] 9 killed (15 Oct.),[8] 9 killed (16 Oct.),[9] total of 89 reported killed
  31. ^ a b "Turkish troops clash with Islamic State in Syria". 5 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016 – via Reuters.
  32. ^ 35 militants killed during clashes around Ikhtren area
  33. ^ a b c d Nevzat Devranoglu; Daren Butler (9 October 2016). "Turkey says 38 Islamic State militants killed in northern Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  34. ^ a b 50 killed during clashes around Dabeq between rebels and IS
  35. ^ "Turkish army says Islamic State putting up 'stiff resistance' in Syria - World - Reuters". Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  36. ^ a b "Operation Euphrates Shield update: Day 52, 62 Daish terrorists killed". Daily Sabah. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  37. ^ a b Turkish-backed rebels 3km from strategic Dabiq, northern Syria
  38. ^ "How did the Ottoman army proceed in Syria 500 years ago?". Hurriyet Daily News. 29 August 2016.
  39. ^ "Turkish jets destroy dozens of Daesh targets in Syria". Anadolu Agency. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  40. ^ Regime forces advance in Hendarat camp
  41. ^ Rebels advance over IS in Aleppo countryside
  42. ^ "FSA took Ghurur village from IS in northern Aleppo". Liveuamap. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  43. ^ "FSA rebels with support of Turkish army seized Uwaylin village south to Al Rai from ISIS". Liveuamap. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  44. ^ "FSA with the help of Turkish army seized Hurdanah and Tallat al Baydah, S-W to Al-Rai from ISIL". Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  45. ^ "Turkmen Bareh seized from ISIS by FSA". Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  46. ^ "Syria: FSA rebels seized the villages of Jubbayn and Tall Aysha from Daesh, advancing further towards Akhtareen". Liveuamap. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  47. ^ "Syrian rebels advance on symbolic IS-held town of Dabiq". BBC News. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  48. ^ "IS mines kill 21 Turkey-backed rebels in Syria: monitor". AFP. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  49. ^ 50 rebels killed or wounded by IS landmines in Turkman Bareh
  50. ^ "Rebels captured 3 villages East of Akhtaren town". Archived from the original on 2016-10-06. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  51. ^ "FSA still in control of Turkmen Bareh and capture Mazare' 'Alaa, Qabtan & Aziziyeh #EuphratesShield". Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  52. ^ Turkey strikes Daesh targets in Syria Anadolu Agency (5 October 2016)
  53. ^ Turkish-backed rebels capture important town from ISIS in northern Aleppo Archived 2018-01-26 at the Wayback Machine Al-Masdar News (6 October 2016)
  54. ^ "Islamic State hits back against Syrian rebels north of Aleppo: monitors". 8 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016 – via Reuters.
  55. ^ Leith Fadel. "ISIS launches counter-offensive in northern Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  56. ^ "ISIS Re-Seize Akhtarin And Ola Farm Northern Aleppo - Qasion News Agency". Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  57. ^ "Hassan Ridha on Twitter". Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  58. ^ تنظيم “الدولة الإسلامية” يستعيد السيطرة على بلدة وقرية من بين 17 منطقة سيطرت عليها الفصائل قرب دابق
  59. ^ Diyar Güldoğan (11 October 2016). "Turkish forces destroy 98 Daesh targets in N. Syria". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  60. ^ "Turkish army bombs Syria's Azaz, civilian casualties reported". ARA News. 11 October 2016. Archived from the original on 10 December 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  61. ^ اشتباكات في شمال وجنوب أحياء حلب الشرقية والفصائل تعاود التقدم في ريف الراعي
  62. ^ Factions supported by Turkish tanks secure a new area toward Dabiq
  63. ^ "Turkey reports killing 47 ISIS militants in Syria in one day". Rudaw. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  64. ^ Charkatli, Izat (15 October 2016). "Battle of Dabiq imminent as rebel forces advance against ISIS in Aleppo". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  65. ^ Dabiq clashes continue and violent clashes in Soran Azaz
  66. ^ "Syria conflict: Rebels 'capture' IS stronghold of Dabiq". BBC News. 2016-10-16. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  67. ^ After 24 of Siege, the IS pulls back from Dabeq strategic town

External links[edit]