- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BEIRUT (AP) - The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

8: 30 p.m.

Turkish military officials say Turkish jets have struck four buildings in parts of northern Syria held by the Islamic State group, destroying the structures and killing the “terrorists” inside.

The officials said Wednesday that Turkish artillery had also fired 107 rounds at 25 “terrorist” targets in the IS-held villages of Zaghrah and Kuliyeh since Tuesday. The villages are situated west of the border town of Jarablus, which was retaken by Turkey-backed Syrian rebels last week.

The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity, in line with government rules, without elaborating.

Turkey sent tanks and jets into Syria last week to help Syrian rebels take Jarablus and also to curtail advances by Syrian Kurdish forces.

- Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey

6:15 p.m.

Turkey’s foreign minister has spoken with his Russian counterpart about Ankara’s ongoing operations against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu called Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday to update him on the progress of ‘Euphrates Shield,’ Turkey’s incursion into Syria, which is aimed at helping Syrian rebels drive back IS as well as U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry says the two discussed current developments in Syria, the delivery of humanitarian aid and efforts to restart peace talks.

Turkey and Russia suffered a roughly seven-month rupture in relations after Turkey shot down a Russian bomber in November as tensions mounted over Syria, where Moscow and Ankara back opposite sides in the civil war. The two restored ties following last month’s attempted military coup in Turkey.


2:15 p.m.

The spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denies that Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire with Syrian Kurdish forces, saying it was “out of the question” for Ankara to reach any agreement with a group it considers a terror organization.

Ibrahim Kalin told reporters Wednesday that the Kurdish militia will remain a target for Turkey until they move east of the Euphrates River.

Turkey’s incursion into Syria helped rebels take the border town of Jarablus from the Islamic State group last week, but clashes have since broken out between Turkish and Kurdish forces in the area.

Kalin says Erdogan is engaged in diplomacy to try to secure a cease-fire in Syria during the upcoming Eid holiday. He says Erdogan will hold discussions on the issue during the G-20 summit in China.


1:45 p.m.

Lebanese media is reporting an explosion near the eastern city of Zahleh, saying the blast inflicted casualties.

George Kitane, head of paramedics at the Lebanese Red Cross, told the local LBC channel that Wednesday’s blast killed one person and wounded two others.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar channel said the explosion wounded four people.

Security officials were not immediately available for comment.

Lebanon has been hit by a wave of explosions over the past three years as Syria’s civil war spilled over into its tiny neighbor.


1:30 p.m.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency is reporting that a senior commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard has been killed in Syria.

The Wednesday report says Gen. Ahmad Gholami, an IRGC commander whose experience dates back to the Iran-Iraq war, was killed in Aleppo on Tuesday.

Iran is one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s main allies. Tehran has provided his government with military and financial backing for years and has kept up its support since the uprising there began in March 2011.


12:50 p.m.

An opposition monitoring group and a news agency linked with the Islamic State group say a suicide attacker has targeted Turkish-backed rebels in northern Syria.

The Islamic State group’s Aamaq news agency says the “martyrdom” attack occurred in the village of Kuliyah, west of the Syrian border town of Jarablus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Wednesday’s attack was carried out by a North African IS member. It says casualties were inflicted but did not give figures.

Turkish troops and Turkey-backed rebels have been fighting Kurdish-led forces and IS since Turkey’s incursion into Syria on Aug. 24.

The suicide attack is the first by IS to target Turkish-backed rebels since they entered Syria last week.


12:20 p.m.

Turkey’s minister of European Union affairs dismisses claims that a cease-fire has been reached with Kurdish rebels in northern Syria.

In comments made to the state-run Anadolu news agency on Wednesday, EU Minister Omer Celik says, “Turkey is a sovereign state, it is a legitimate state. To suggest it is on a par with a terrorist organization and suggest there are talks between them, that a deal has been reached between them, this is unacceptable.”

Turkey’s incursion into Syria helped rebels take the border town of Jarablus from the Islamic State group last week, but clashes have since broken out between Turkish and Kurdish forces in the area.

The Kurdish-backed Jarablus Military Council said in a statement Tuesday it had agreed to a cease-fire following consultations with the U.S.-led coalition.

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