US, Turkish FMs discuss Sochi talks, Afrin op

US, Turkish FMs discuss Sochi talks, Afrin op

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Rex Tillerson also exchange views on Iraq in phone conversation

By Dildar Akan

ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed this week's Syria meeting in Sochi, Turkey’s ongoing operation in Syria’s Afrin over the phone, said a Turkish diplomatic source on Wednesday.

The top diplomats also exchanged views on Iraq during the phone conversation.

At the congress in the southern Russian city on Monday and Tuesday -- which included representatives from Syria and guarantor countries Russia, Iran, and Turkey -- a proposal to form a constitutional committee was agreed upon.

Parties at the two-day congress also said in a final statement that they wanted to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in the region as soon as possible, and urged for international help towards this end.

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.

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