Turkey launches airstrike on IS in Syria

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Istanbul:Turkish warplanes attacked Islamic State targets in Syria for the first time on Friday, with President Tayyip Erdogan promising more decisive action against both the jihadists and Kurdish militants at home. The air strikes, which followed a phone conversation between Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday, were accompanied by police raids across Turkey to detain hundreds of suspected militants, including from Kurdish groups.

Turkey has long been a reluctant partner in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, emphasising instead the need to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and saying Syrian Kurdish forces also pose a grave security threat.

But Friday’s attacks, which officials said were launched from Turkish air space, signalled that Ankara would crack down against Islamic State across the Syrian border, while pursuing the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – which Ankara describes as a separatist organisation – at home.