Turkey announced Saturday that its fighter jets have carried out their first airstrikes as part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL in Syria.
A Foreign Ministry statement said the jets began attacking the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant targets late Friday across the border in Syria that were deemed to be threats to Turkey.
After months of hesitation, Turkey agreed last month to take on a more active role in the fight against ISIL. Turkish jets used guided bombs to attack ISIL positions in Syria, without crossing into Syrian airspace, and later Turkey granted U.S. jets access to a key air base close to the Syrian border.
The Turkish attacks that began Friday were the first launched as part of the U.S.-led campaign and came after Turkish and U.S. officials announced they had reached a technical agreement concerning their cooperation, 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 ISIL. "The fight against the terrorist organization is a priority for Turkey."
The statement did not give more details on the targets.
On Thursday, ISIL fighters 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 ISIL carried out a suicide bombing on the outskirts of Marea amid fierce fighting in the area.
The ISIL advance was in the northern Aleppo province near where Turkey and the United States have agreed to establish an ISIL-free safe zone.
Al Jazeera and the Associated Press