BELGRADE – Turkish and U.S.-led coalition forces have launched a military offensive aimed at clearing Islamic State (IS) militants from a border area of northern Syria, RFE/RL reports.

The operation began just before dawn on August 24 as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was traveling to Ankara for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

The military operation is focusing on the IS-held Syrian border town of Jarablus and the surrounding area.

By midday, Turkish artillery and warplanes, together with U.S. warplanes, had launched more than 200 air and artillery strikes against IS targets in and around Jarablus with guidance from Turkish special forces deployed inside northern Syria.

Meanwhile, dozens of Turkish tanks and armored personnel carriers were positioned on the Turkish side of the border.

After reports that Turkey also was firing artillery at Syrian Kurdish fighters from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), PYD leader Salih Muslim said Turkey had entered “the Syrian quagmire” and would be defeated along with IS militants.