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Turkish jets join US-led bombing campaign against IS

Turkey has announced that its fighter jets have carried out their first airstrikes as part of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the jets began attacking IS targets late yesterday across the border in Syria that were deemed to be threats to Turkey.

Turkey agreed last month to take on a more active role in the fight against IS.

Turkish jets used smart bombs to attack IS positions in Syria, without crossing into Syrian airspace and later Turkey granted US jets access to a key air base close to the Syrian border.

The Turkish attacks that began yesterday were the first launched as part of the US-led campaign and came after Turkish and US officials announced they had reached a technical agreement concerning their co-operation, which calls for Turkey to be fully integrated into the coalition air campaign.

"Our fighter aircraft together with warplanes belonging to the coalition began as of yesterday evening to jointly carry out air operations against Daesh targets that constitute a threat against the security of our country," the Foreign Ministry said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

"The fight against the terrorist organisation is a priority for Turkey."

The statement did not give more details on the targets.

On Thursday, IS militants seized five villages from rebel groups in northern Syria as they advanced toward the strategic town of Marea near the Turkish border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other groups said IS carried out a suicide bombing on the outskirts of Marea amid fierce fighting in the area.

The IS advance was in the northern Aleppo province near where Turkey and the US have agreed to establish an IS-free safe zone.

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