Europe

The Latest: Turkish troops, allied forces seize town center

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. The Defenders of the Fatherland Day, celebrated in Russia on Feb. 23, honours the nation's military and is a nationwide holiday. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. The Defenders of the Fatherland Day, celebrated in Russia on Feb. 23, honours the nation's military and is a nationwide holiday. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, left, Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to UN New York, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, center, Syria's main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) leader Nasr al-Hariri, right, during the opening of a new round of Syria peace talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Syria's government and the armed opposition were due to meet at the UN's Geneva headquarters on Thursday to begin roundtable discussions mediated by UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    Syrian chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, left, Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to UN New York, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, center, Syria's main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) leader Nasr al-Hariri, right, during the opening of a new round of Syria peace talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Syria's government and the armed opposition were due to meet at the UN's Geneva headquarters on Thursday to begin roundtable discussions mediated by UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, left, Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to UN New York, leaves after he welcomed the delegations at the opening of a new round of Syria peace talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Syria's government and the armed opposition were due to meet at the UN's Geneva headquarters on 23 February to begin roundtable discussions mediated by UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    Syrian chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, left, Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to UN New York, leaves after he welcomed the delegations at the opening of a new round of Syria peace talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Syria's government and the armed opposition were due to meet at the UN's Geneva headquarters on 23 February to begin roundtable discussions mediated by UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on developments in Syria and the Geneva talks (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters have seized the center of the town of al-Bab from the Islamic State group.

Anadolu Agency, quoting a Syrian opposition force commander Ahmed al Shahabi, said Thursday the troops were clearing mines and other explosives left behind by the IS militants.

Turkey sent troops across the border into northern Syrian in August to help Syrian opposition forces battle IS and halt the advances of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The troops had become bogged down in a grueling battle over al-Bab, one of the few remaining IS strongholds in northern Syria.

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10:45 a.m.

Syrian peace talks under the auspices of the United Nations have resumed in Geneva, 10 months after they fell apart over escalating bloodshed in the war-torn country.

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura is convening his first morning meeting with the delegation of the Syrian government, headed by Bashar al-Ja'aafari, on Thursday.

He is then expected to meet with Nasr Hariri, a senior member with the largest opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition.

Opposition delegates have been arriving in Geneva since Wednesday and some held late night meetings in preparation for the talks.

This is the fourth round of negotiations since early last year.

The talks are taking place amid a hard-won, fragile truce brokered by Turkey and Russia, which have backed opposite sides in the six-year civil war.