Turkish jets launched airstrikes against the northern Syrian town of Jarablus on Wednesday to clear it of Islamic State militants, state media reported saying it was a joint operation with the US-led coalition.

The military operation called "Euphrates Shield," which included shelling, was "aimed at clearing the district of Jarablus of the province of Aleppo from the terrorist organization," a government statement said.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said one of the goals of the mission, which began before dawn, was to support the territorial integrity of Syria.

The operation comes on the day of a planned visit to Ankara by US Vice President Joe Biden, the most senior official from Washington to visit Turkey since the failed coup of July 15.

The private Dogan news agency said the air force hit 12 targets inside Syria. Anadolu also reported on a series of police raids in Istanbul aimed at detaining Islamic State suspects.

The leader of the main Syrian Kurdish party denounced the Turkish military operation inside Syria.

"Turkey is in Syrian Quagmire. will be defeated as Daish," Salih Muslim, head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) tweeted, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

The PYD and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), have been allied with the US in the war against Islamic State.

Turkey appears keen to take Jarablus before Kurdish-led forces move on the town.

Kurdish forces, the main US ally inside Syria, this month seized nearby Minbij from Islamic State.

Islamic State has controlled territory along Turkey's border with Syria since 2013. Jarablus itself fell under its control that year, after Islamic State ousted Syrian rebel factions.

In late 2014, US airstrikes and Kurdish ground forces began operations to push Islamic State off the border, working to cut off its supply routes and flows of foreign fighters from over the porous Turkish border.

Islamic State currently only controls a small stretch of territory, between Jarablus and al-Rai, about 50 kilometres away. The Kurds now hold most of the land Islamic State ceded in the area.

Turkey has reportedly opposed the Kurds moving on Jarablus, fearing their widening presence on its border.

On Monday, Turkey began shelling both Islamic State and Syrian Kurds in areas just across the border. Islamic State retaliated the next day and about a dozen rockets were fired into Turkey. Residents in some border districts were evacuated.

Turkey has been repeatedly hit by Islamic State attacks since last year. On Saturday, a suicide bomber killed 54 people, mostly children, at a Kurdish wedding in Gaziantep, in the south. Authorities blame Islamic State.

Syrian rebel forces told dpa this week that Turkey was keen to move them from north-western Syria to Jarablus to engage in ground battles there. The rebels have no direct front line with the town.

Both Turkey and Syrian rebel forces, including Islamist factions, oppose Kurdish efforts to carve out autonomous zones for themselves in the north of the country on land taken from Islamic State.

The Kurds, a minority group, have long complained of discrimination in Syria and view federalism as a solution to the country's long running civil war.

Turkey and Russia recently mended fences after relations deteriorated in November, when Ankara downed a Russian fighter jet over the Syrian border.

Turkey had since refrained from flying missions inside Syria, instead using shells to carry out cross border attacks.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.