44 IS extremists killed in Syria

Istanbul: At least 44 members of the Islamic State terror organisation and a Turkish soldier were killed on Tuesday in clashes in northern Syria, according to a Turkish army statement.

The statement, published by the semi-official Anadolu news agency, did not specify where the Turkish soldier was killed, but indicated that it occurred during an operation against IS in northern Syria, when a mine detonated during a de-mining operation, in which two other soldiers were wounded.

Turkey's artillery and ground forces attacked 109 IS targets on Tuesday, while the air force pounded four IS-controlled buildings on the outskirts of the city of al-Bab, Efe news reported.

Since December, the city has been under siege by the Turkish army, which managed to conquer most of it.

Anadolu reported that 44 IS fighters were killed, 15 in battles with Turkish forces, and 29 in air strikes carried out by the US-led international coalition, also joined by Turkey.

Turkish authorities announced that after it takes full control of al-Bab, operations will continue to drive IS from the city of al-Raqqa, the terror organisation's main stronghold in Syria.