By Nilay Kar Onum
ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish and Russian presidents on Wednesday discussed this week's Syria meeting in Sochi, the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch, and other recent developments concerning Syria, including Idlib.
The outcome of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi is an “important achievement' despite problems, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin said during their phone conversation.
At the congress in the southern Russian city on Monday and Tuesday -- including representatives from Syria and the guarantor countries of Russia, Iran, and Turkey -- a proposal to form a constitutional committee was agreed on.
Parties at the two-day congress also said in a final statement that they want to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in the region as soon as possible, and urged international help towards this end.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria, along Turkey's border.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said the "utmost importance" is being put on avoiding any harm to civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.