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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Turkey invades Syria

Turkey's army and international coalition forces on Wednesday started an operation to drive Islamic State jihadists out of a key Syrian border town, a statement from the Turkish prime minister's office said.

"The Turkish Armed Forces and the International Coalition Air Forces have launched a military operation aimed at clearing the district of Jarablus of the province of Aleppo from the terrorist organisation Daesh," it added, using an Arabic acronym for IS group.

The state-run news agency Anadolu said the operation began at around 4 am local time (0100 GMT).

Turkish F-16 jets dropped bombs on IS targets in Jarablus -- the first such assault since a November crisis with Russia sparked by the downing of one of Moscow's warplanes by the Turkish air force, the private NTV television reported.

Security sources quoted by Turkish television said a small contingent of special forces travelled a few kilometres into Syria to secure the area before a possible operation.

Broadcaster CNN-Turk reported that Turkish artillery hit 63 targets in Syria.

Several mortar rounds from IS-held Jarablus hit the Turkish border town of Karkamis on Tuesday, prompting the army to pound the jihadist positions on Syrian soil with artillery strikes.