A Turkish-backed operation has begun to rid Syria’s northern border of ISIL militants and the Kurdish PYD, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed.
Turkish tank units are said to have crossed into the neighbouring nation and intense bombardments are reported, with further aerial support provided by the US-led coalition.
The Free Syrian Army also entered the war-torn country near the town of Jarablus, hours after artillery rounds were fired from the Turkish side of the frontier, a military commander has told Reuters news agency.
Turkey has vowed to “completely cleanse” the militants from its border after a suicide bomber believed to be linked to ISIL killed 54 people at a Kurdish wedding in the south east.
However, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party tweeted that Turkey was entering a “quagmire” in Syria and faces defeat.
It is the first time Ankara has used warplanes over Syria since November, when its forces downed a Russian jet near the border.
Erdogan says the country is seeking to “remove the shadow cast on the Islamic religion” by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIL).
He said he was determined that Syria would retain its territorial integrity.