Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has crossed into Syrian territory to pay a surprise visit to the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

In February, Turkey sent hundreds of troops into Syria to move the tomb — which was besieged by Islamic State militants — closer to the Turkish border and to evacuate dozens of Turkish soldiers who were guarding it. It was the first major military incursion by Turkey since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

Davutoglu's office said the Turkish leader visited the shrine on Sunday. It now lies some 250 meters (yards) from the Turkish border in Syria's Ashma region.

The private Dogan news agency said Davutoglu crossed into Syria in a convoy of armored vehicles, protected by helicopters.