(MENAFN- AzerNews) By Kamila Aliyeva
Presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia - Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin will meet in Istanbul, Turkish media outlets reported on February 8.
Within the framework of the meeting the parties will discuss the military operation Olive Branch in Syrian northwestern city of Afrin. The talks are also expected to focus on the settlement of the Syrian crisis.
The date of the meeting of the presidents is not yet announced.
Today, Erdogan and Putin also held a telephone conversation and discussed Olive Branch military operation in Afrin as well as the situation in the Syrian Idlib. On February 7, Turkey and Iran discussed the military operation in the course of the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Tehran.
On January 20, the Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Free Syrian Army, launched the Olive Branch operation in the Syrian city of Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and in the region as well as to protect Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights within international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity.
Afrin was a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012. About 8,000-10,000 terrorists of PYD and YPG were deployed in this city, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
F-16 fighters of the Turkish Air Force are involved in the operation, inflicting strikes on the positions of PYD/YPG on the Syrian-Turkish border.
So far, forty settlements were liberated in Afrin as part of the operation, according to the Turkish military sources. A total of 1028 PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terrorists have been neutralized in the course of operation, Daily Sabah reported.
Starting from June 21, Turkey began to pull military equipment to the border with Syria.
Military equipment is concentrated in the Turkish province of Kilis, bordering the Syrian territory controlled by the YPG (Kurdish People's Protection Units) and PYD (Kurdish Democratic Union Party) forces.
The Turkish Armed Forces launched an operation to liberate the city of Jarabulus from the IS militants in northern Syria, near Aleppo on August 24, 2016. The operation was dubbed the Euphrates Shield.
The Turkish-led Euphrates Shield was aimed to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.
Syria has been locked in civil war since March 2011. Around 500,000 people have died in the conflict while half the population has been driven from their homes.
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