The Turkish army has accused Islamic State (IS) militants of killing at least 30 civilians seeking to flee the flashpoint Syrian town of Al-Bab, which Ankara and its rebel allies have been trying to capture for weeks.
The civilians were killed with mines and homemade bombs as they tried to flee from the town, located near the Turkish border, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on December 25.
Syrian rebels supported by Turkish troops have been trying to take over the Islamic State-held town for weeks under the "Euphrates Shield" operation, which Turkey launched four months ago.
On August 24, Ankara sent ground troops to support Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces in clearing IS militants from a border area and curbing Syrian Kurdish territorial expansion.
So far, 36 Turkish soldiers have died in the "Euphrates Shield" operation, and 16 soldiers were killed by IS last week, the operation’s biggest loss since the launch of the incursion.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Right has accused Turkey of killing 88 civilians in air strikes on Al-Bab, including 21 children. The Turkish army has denied such claims.