ANKARA, April 4. /TASS/. Turkey is set to carry on with its counterterrorism operation in Syria until retaking areas from the Kurdish People's Protection Units, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday at a joint news conference after the summit of Russia, Iran and Turkey focusing on Syria.
"We are aware that many Syrians are waiting when we complete our work on demining Afrin and rebuilding infrastructure so that they will be able to return to their homes," Erdogan said. "I reiterate that we will not stop until we bring peace and stability to the areas controlled by the People's Protection Units. Primarily, it refers to Manbij."
According to the president, Turkey "is ready to join efforts with both Russian and Iranian friends over Tell Rifaat."
Ankara says that the city of Tell Rifaat is controlled by Kurds from the Syrian National Council.
On January 20, Turkey’s General Staff declared the launch of Operation Olive Branch against Kurdish units from Self-Defense Forces (incorporated in the Syrian Democratic Forces) and Democratic Union Party in Syria’s Afrin region, home to 1.5 million Syrian Kurds and other Syrian refuges. Ankara brands these two groups as terrorist.
On March 18, Turkey’s General Staff said that the city of Afrin had been retaken and on March 24, it said that they were controlling the entire region of Afrin located in northwestern Syrian.