Syria: ISIL vehicle bomb on Turkey-backed rebels 'kills dozens'

Turkish gains in al-Bab came as Syrian government and opposition delegates gathered in Geneva for the latest round of peace talks aimed at ending the nearly six-year war.

Fasik noted "it's been a long time since we entered al-Bab".

Last week, the Turkish military hit 18 Islamic State targets in al-Bab, Reuters reported.

"We are announcing Al Bab completely liberated, and we are now clearing mines from the residential neighbourhoods", said Ahmad Othman, a rebel commander.

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said on Thursday that its rebel allies had "near complete control" of the town.

Turkish chief of staff General Hulusi Akar was quoted by local media giving reassurances of Turkish support for people in Al-Bab to ensure they can return to their homes safely after the bloody fight.

But at least six fighters were among those killed in the attack, according to Turkey's prime minister, who spoke in Ankara.

Capturing the city is of strategic importance to Turkey in order to prevent the Syrian Kurds from taking it and unifying their own territories. However, the SAA advance stalled at the IS-held town of Tadef last week.

The blast devastated two adjacent rebel command posts and also seriously wounded a large number of fighters, the Observatory said. On some streets, white stone buildings are still standing, singed by explosions and riddled with holes, windows blasted out.

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"We had said to our American friends "Keep your promises" and they said "After the end of Manbij operation, YPG [fighters] will retreat to the east of Euphrates River", Cavusoglu recalled.

ISIS claimed to have killed more than 400 Turkish troops and allied rebels in the course of fighting over the city, and destroyed 41 Turkish tanks.

Minesweeping inside al-Bab on Thursday.

United Nations officials have expressed concern for the 5,000 civilians trapped in and around al-Bab.

An estimated 100,000 people lived in the town in 2011 when Syria's nationwide uprising against President Bashar al-Assad morphed into war.

While battles continue in towns immediately surrounding al-Bab, Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield forces are studying their next move.

However, both those sides, as well as a group of militias led by Kurdish forces and supported by the U.S., are also fighting IS, which holds large parts of northern and eastern Syria.

West of the second city, where government forces took full control in December, fighting flared with rebels in its western suburbs even as peace talks got under way in Geneva.

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