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Smoke rises from Al-Bab as rebels advance towards the town, in Syria January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

(reuters_tickers)

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Claims that Turkey will hand over the Syrian town of al-Bab to President Bashar al-Assad's forces after driving out Islamic State are not true, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the state-run Anadolu agency on Tuesday.

Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes, have been besieging al-Bab since December. Kurtulmus said the U.S.-led coalition had failed to give sufficient support to Turkey's operation to seize the town.

(Reporting by Daren Butler; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

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