ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish soldier was killed in clashes with Islamic State militants near al-Bab in northern Syria on Sunday, the Turkish military said, as fighting between Turkey-backed rebels and Sunni hard-liners grinds on.
Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes, have been besieging the Islamic State-held town since December. Turkey has repeatedly said it is close to taking al-Bab, although troops have been bogged down in street battles with Islamic State, slowing progress.
The militants have also used car bombs and other tactics to inflict damage on the rebels. One Turkish soldier was killed on Sunday morning in the latest clashes with militants in al Ghuz, west of al-Bab, the military said in a statement.
Turkey launched its Syrian incursion, dubbed "Operation Euphrates Shield" in late August, sweeping Islamic State from its Syrian border.
(Reporting by Yesim Dikmen; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Stephen Powell)