The prophecy of Muhammed found in the Hadith, one of Islam’s holy books, states that Islam’s final battle will take place at Dabiq, Syria. The prophecy states that the Christian West will come against Islam at Dabiq, and that the Mahdi (Islam’s messiah) will come during that battle leading Islam to victory. Muslims also say that Jesus will return to earth, when the Mahdi comes, and will break a cross in the sight of the whole world. He will do this to emphasize that He never died on a cross, which Muslims teach never happened, and will cause the world’s Christians to convert to Islam. At that time Islam will set up its prophesied world government. It is believed that all this will occur during a battle at Dabiq.
ISIS surged to power in 2014, capturing seventy percent of Syria and approximately forty percent of Iraq. In August of 2014, ISIS captured the town of Dabiq, believing they were setting the stage for the final battle. They then beheaded American hostage Peter Kassig at Dabiq and placed his beheading on the Internet for the world to see. They hoped to provoke an invasion by American forces thus setting the stage for their prophesied final battle.
Because of President Obama’s aversion to putting troops on the ground again in the Middle East, he didn’t respond as ISIS thought he might. America continued to pound ISIS from the air, depending on Islamic forces opposed to ISIS to provide the boots on the ground.
Over the next two years, ISIS continued to hold Dabiq, still believing the final battle would soon materialize. On August 24, 2016 the unexpected happened. Turkey launched an invasion of Syria very near to the town of Dabiq. Turkey called the invasion “Operation Euphrates Shield.” With the support of both Russian and U.S. air power, Turkey’s gains were rapid. By October 15, it became obvious that Turkey would capture Dabiq.
How could ISIS save face? Since it was another Muslim country, not the Christian West, that was enemy, ISIS announced that the looming battle could not be the battle prophesied by Muhammed. Consequently, ISIS retreated from Dabiq with hardly a whimper. The apocalypse — it was not.