Turkey detains eight IS members on Syria border: army

Turkish soldiers stand guard atop a hill opposite the city of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, in the Turkish border village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province, on November 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)

Ankara (AFP) - Turkey has detained eight members of the Islamic State group including three children while trying to cross from neighbouring Syria illegally, the military said on Saturday.

"Eight members of the Daesh terrorist organisation were caught and detained" on Friday in the border town of Elbeyli, Kilis province, the army said in a statement on its website, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The military gave no further details on the three children detained.

Weapons including a Kalashnikov rifle, 11 cartridges and hand grenades were confiscated from the group, along with a notebook, the statement said.

Long criticised for not doing enough to stem the flow of jihadist fighters across its volatile border with Syria, Turkey has stepped up fight after a number of deadly attacks on Turkish soil blamed on IS.

According to government figures, between January and November around 1,200 suspects were detained over ties to the jihadist group.

Turkish courts have convicted and imprisoned more than 350 people on the grounds of IS membership.

The government has dismissed as "groundless" claims that Turkey is not combatting the jihadist group.

Ankara launched its first air strikes against IS targets in Syria after a deadly bombing on a border town in July.

The group has been blamed for three attacks in Turkey since June including the country's deadliest ever attack in October, which killed 102 people at a pro-Kurdish rally in Ankara.