Turkish soldiers killed during Afrin operation

Istanbul conference evaluates all aspects of Syria war

Pro-Syrian government forces entered Afrin last week in support of the Kurdish YPG militia, who are the target of a campaign, launched by Turkey and allied Syrian rebel fighters in January, codenamed Operation Olive Branch.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation inside Syria aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as "protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression".

More than 2,200 terrorists have been captured dead or alive or surrendered in the Afrin region of Syria as part of Turkey's ongoing military operations there, authorities said Thursday.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch, its second military intervention in Syia since 2011, after Washington said it would set up a border force comprising 30,000 Kurdish militants near Turkish soil.

Turkey, Russia and Iran, as guarantor countries of the Astana Agreement aiming to enhance and sustain a cease fire between the Syrian regime and the opposition, are due to meet in Istanbul in the coming weeks.

They also seized a strategic mountain in the northeast of the enclave, a military official from the Turkish-led operation said.

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Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is deemed a terrorist group by the USA, the European Union and Turkey.

The YPG has been a key component of a United States-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance that has been fighting the Daesh militant group in Syria.

In a phone call on Monday between French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the latest developments in Syria, Erdogan said that "utmost care" is being taken to avoiding harming civilians.

Strikes on the area of Kafr Janna were the third such raid in less than 48 hours. The monitoring group said the Turkish army was in control of about 70 per cent of the town, 25km northwest of the city of Afrin.

Ankara says YPG is a terrorist extension of Kurdistan Workers' Party which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state.

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