(Reuters) Three Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes near the Islamic State-controlled town of al-Bab in northern Syria, to which Turkey-backed rebels are currently laying siege, Turkey’s military said on Wednesday.
Around 20 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the course of the “Euphrates Shield” operation, launched nearly four months ago, to push Islamic State militants and a Kurdish militia away from the border.
Eleven soldiers were wounded, one of them critically, and have been transported to hospital for treatment, the military said.
“Clashes are continuing in the area of al-Bab town hospital, which has for a long time been a weapons and ammunition store for the terrorists,” the army said.
It said the area was closely protected by Islamic State and was on the slope of a hill overlooking al-Bab.
Earlier, the army said the Turkish-backed rebels had gained full control of the highway from al-Bab to Aleppo and that Turkish warplanes had destroyed 48 IS targets and killed 15 militants. Four Turkish soldiers were slightly wounded when the vehicle they were traveling in was damaged by a roadside blast, it added.