ISTANBUL:- Three Turkish soldiers were killed and another wounded in an attack Friday on an army tank launched by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in northern Syria, the Turkish army said in a statement on state media.  The new fatalities come after three Turkish soldiers were killed in a rocket attack by IS this week. Turkey had blamed the death of one soldier on August 28 in a similar attack on Kurdish militia. –AFP

In a statement posted on the jihadist accounts, IS claimed the tank attack. The tank was hit during clashes in the Tel Al-Hawa region in northern Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported, quoting the army statement.

Turkey launched an unprecedented operation inside Syria on August 24, sending tanks and special troops to back Syrian opposition rebels in a bid to remove IS jihadists from the entire border area.

On Friday, the Turkish army said it had struck 15 IS targets 41 times, adding that four IS-held buildings had been destroyed in air operations.

Ankara-backed fighters seized the town of Jarabulus from IS jihadists on the first day of the operation, without much resistance from the extremist group.

As well as attacking the jihadists, Turkey has been working to push out the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia from the area.

The latest fatalities come as Turkey is considering an ambitious plan to capture from the jihadists the Syrian town of Raqa, the de facto capital of IS, an operation that would be on a different scale from Jarabulus.

Speculation has grown of a possible joint Turkey-US operation to seize Raqa and possibly IS-held Mosul in northern Iraq after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed he had discussed the issue with US counterpart Barack Obama at the G20 in China.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday such an operation to boot out IS could be successful if supported by coalition air power.

The spokesperson of the US-led coalition against IS, John Dorrian, tweeted on Thursday that Turkey, the United States and Syrian opposition fighters were working "to come up with a game plan" for Raqa.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday the Syria operation was aimed at securing Turkey's southern border.

He vowed to press ahead with the military offensive against "not only Daesh (IS) but also other terror groups like PYD and YPG" until this goal is achieved.

Turkey sees the Syrian Kurdish militia force YPG as a terror group affiliated with its outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) waging a bloody campaign against the Turkish state.