BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the developments related to the conflict in Syria (all times local):
12: 25 p.m.
Turkey’s state-run news agency says three Turkish soldiers have been killed in Syria in the battle to retake the northern town of al-Bab from the Islamic State group.
The Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed military sources, says 11 Turkish soldiers were also wounded in the fighting on Wednesday, including one who was reported to be in critical condition.
The report says intense clashes are underway near a hospital in the town that the militants were using as a shelter and to store arms and ammunition.
Turkey sent ground troops into northern Syria in August to support Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces in clearing a border area of Islamic State group militants and to curb Kurdish territorial expansion.
At least 24 Turkish soldiers have been killed so far in the operation, entitled Euphrates Shield.
Syrian activists say the last buses meant to evacuate rebels and civilians from Aleppo have been delayed for nearly 24 hours. Reasons for the delay aren’t clear.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict though activists on the ground, says 60 buses are waiting to leave eastern Aleppo on Wednesday with some 3,000 evacuees — the final step that surrenders the Syrian opposition stronghold in the war-torn city to the government.
Ward Furati, spokesman for Aleppo’s Fastaqim rebel faction, says the fighters “won’t leave until security of all the civilians has been fully guaranteed.”
The Observatory also says 21 buses are waiting to evacuate the sick and wounded from the rebel-besieged Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya as part of the cease-fire deal reached last week.
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