ANKARA, Turkey - As many as 46 Daesh militants have been killed so far, in Turkey's operation in northern Syria, Dogan News agency reported.

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), have now taken four villages in northern Syria, Dogan said.

Turkish jets and tanks, along with howitzers are reportedly still barraging Daesh targets in Jarablus, in northern Syria. It was the first time for Turkish F-16's to enter Syrian airspace since a Russian jet was shot down last Nov.

A statement issued by the prime minister's office said, the cross-border operation was aimed at driving out the terrorist militants.

The "Euphrates Shield" operation, which began at 4 a.m. local time (0100 GMT), aims to expunge Turkish borders off terrorist groups, enhance border security and uphold Syria's territorial integrity, the statement said.

Preventing another influx of migrants and delivering necessary aid to the region's civilian population, are also among the operation's goals, Turkish officials said.

In Damascus, the Syrian Foreign Ministry, condemned the Turkish intervention, saying, any anti-terror efforts should be coordinated with the Syrian government.

Turkey's special forces entered Jarablus, a border town inside Syria, under the cover of Turkish air force and the U.S.-led coalition, military sources told Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper.

According to military sources, 81 targets were destroyed by artillery fire and tanks, stationed on Turkish soil.

At a news conference in Ankara, President Recep Erdogan confirmed the start of the "Euphrates Shield" operation.

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister, Cavusoglu, said, Turkey is prepared to provide all forms of support to the Jarablus operation, in order to free the town from the grip of the Daesh.

Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper, citing undisclosed military sources, said, a ground offensive has not yet begun, but efforts are underway to forge a "passageway" into the region.

Source: Nam News Network