Istanbul: Turkey-backed rebels killed 68 Daesh militants in clashes in northern Syria overnight, Turkish state media reported the military as saying on Saturday, as intense fighting around the town of Al Bab continued.

Syrian rebels supported by Turkish troops have been laying siege to the Daesh-held town for weeks, as part of the “Euphrates Shield” operation launched by Turkey nearly four months ago to sweep Daesh militants and Kurdish fighters from its Syrian border.

Fighting around Al Bab has escalated this week with Turkish soldiers and 138 militants killed in clashes on Wednesday in the deadliest day since the start of Turkey’s Syrian incursion.

Sixty-eight Daesh militants were “neutralised” in fighting near Al Bab since Friday night, state-run Anadolu Agency said, citing a military statement.