Turkey launches military operation in Syria to free ISIS-controlled border town

AP

Turkish military tanks crossed over into Syria Wednesday morning in an effort to free a border town from the grips of the Islamic State group, the Associated Press reported.

Turkish artillery units and U.S.-backed coalition fighters launched the attack, codenamed "Euphrates Shield," on the town of Jarablus, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's office, the AP reported. Turkey has also dropped targeted bombs on the town.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Turkish ground troops have also entered Syria, according to the AP

A Turkish military tank drives towards Syria.  BULENT KILIC/Getty Images

According to CNN, Jarablus is the last major ISIS-held town on the Syria-Turkey border. On Tuesday, residents of the Turkish town Karkamis, which is across the border from Jarablus, were told to evacuate, the AP reported. 

The operation started just hours before Vice President Joe Biden touched down in Ankara to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim.

On Saturday, a suicide bomber attacked a wedding in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, also close to the Syrian border, killing 54 people. Erdogan blamed the Islamic State group for the attack. 

"Our border must be completely cleansed of Daesh,"  Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday, using the Arabic name for ISIS.