(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
ISTANBUL - Forty-four Islamic State militants were killed by Turkey-backed operations around the Syrian town of al-Bab and in US-led coalition air strikes on Monday, the Turkish military said on Tuesday.
One Turkish soldier was killed and two were wounded during work to clear landmines and explosives in the area, the army said, reiterating that it had largely established control in the residential areas of al-Bab.
The Islamic State stronghold, 30 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border, has been a prime target since Turkey launched an incursion with Syrian rebels last August to push the jihadists from its frontier and prevent gains by a Kurdish militia.
Turkey's army said 15 of the jihadists were killed in clashes, artillery fire and air strikes during operations in al-Bab, while the remaining 29 were killed and four buildings were destroyed in the coalition air strikes.