Turkish jets have pounded several Islamic State (Isis) targets in Syria alongside US-led coalition forces. This is the first time Ankara has launched a direct attack on the Sunni insurgents.

Following months-long hesitation to join the counter-terror operations, Turkey has decided to take up an active role in the conflict following the recent attack on its soil. Turkish jets used smart bombs to hit IS positions inside Syria without violating the neighbour's airspace, the foreign ministry said.

In a statement, it said: "The public had been informed with respect to the decisions taken on further deepening the existing cooperation between Turkey and the US to counter DEASH [another name for IS]. Our fighter aircraft, together with coalition fighter aircraft, began carrying out joint air operations as of yesterday (29 August) evening against DEASH targets in Syria that also present a threat to our national security.

"Turkey will continue its active support to the efforts towards eliminating the threats presented by DEASH, which Turkey put in its own list of terrorist organisations in 2013, both at the national level and as a part of the coalition with a firm determination."

Besides its own air strikes, Turkey has also opened its bases to the US coalition forces for their operation against IS. The extent of the damage caused by the Turkish attack is unclear, but the state-backed Anadolu Agency said the Syrian town of Manbij in Aleppo province was targeted.

The US welcomed Turkey's increased participation in the ongoing battle against IS Islamists. "We commend Turkey for its participation in counter-ISIL air operations alongside other coalition nations in the international campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL [another acronym for IS]," Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook told reporters.

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