Turkey launches offensive to clear IS-held Syrian town
The Turkish military and the US-backed coalition forces have launched an operation to clear the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Islamic State militants, the Turkish Prime Minister's office said Wednesday.
The joint operation aims to clear the northern town which militants fled to after Manbij was seized from IS control by Kurdish forces earlier this month.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the operation began at 4 am with Turkish artillery launching intense fire on Jarablus followed by Turkish warplanes bombing IS targets in the town.
It's not clear if any Turkish or Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces have crossed the border into Syria.
Officials in the town of Karkamis, which lies directly opposite Jarablus on the Turkish side of the border, have began evacuating residents after IS projectile fell on the town.
Turkish military reinforcements were also seen gathering in the town prior to the launch of the operation.
Last week, US officials said that several hundred vehicles carrying IS fighters were allowed to leave Manbij after US-based Syrian Democratic Forces took the city.
The fighters who took scores of hostages with them were believed to have headed towards Jarablus, on the border with Turkey.