At least 30 civilians were killed and several others wounded by the Islamic State on Sunday after trying to flee the Syrian town of al-Bab, the Turkish military said. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said the civilians were targeted by the militants with mines and explosives as they tried to exit the besieged town. The town has been a flashpoint of fighting between Syrian rebels backed by Turkish soldiers and the Islamic State for several weeks, leaving civilians caught in the crossfire. The operation to liberate the town from ISIS – dubbed Euphrates Shield by the Turkish military – has heated up recently, with Ankara reportedly sending 500 elite commandos in preparation for a final showdown over the weekend. Turkey, which has been accused by a monitoring group of killing 88 civilians in air strikes as part of the operation, has lost 36 soldiers while battling ISIS in the area. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this week that the battle for the town is almost over, with Turkish forces due to head on to the town of Manbij next.