The United Nations says at least 18 fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group have been killed in a Turkish-led operation against the extremists.
The US State Department said in a statement that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the operation on Wednesday to “take action against those who are supporting ISIL and its terrorist organisations.”
The statement said that the operation took place in the town of Hakkari in the western province of Hakka, near the border with Syria.
The group is believed to have bases in northern Syria, the US State department said.
Turkish officials say they are targeting the group’s leadership and other top leaders in the area.
The Turkish operation, dubbed “Operation Euphrates Shield,” targeted “a group that was not directly involved in ISIL operations, but was actively supporting them and acting as a front for ISIL operations,” the statement said.
The operation also targeted two other ISIL-linked terrorist groups, the statement added.
The U.S. military said it has conducted about 100 airstrikes in the country in support of the operation, which has been underway since mid-May.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the United States is trying to turn Turkey into a “terrorist state” by backing foreign-backed armed groups fighting ISIL.
In April, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution that would allow Turkey to use force against the group, but the U,S.
and its allies have opposed the move.
The United States, Britain, France, Canada, Russia, China and Germany all backed the resolution, which was supported by the United Nations and the European Union.