Turkey accused of recruiting, retraining IS fighters to attack Afrin

President Hassan Rohani greets Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the start of their meeting at the presidency office in Tehran Iran

Turkey accused of recruiting, retraining IS fighters to attack Afrin

The number of liberated settlements in Syria's Afrin as part of the Operation Olive Branch has reached 42, the Turkish media reported February 9.

The Turkish officials said the two also agreed that efforts to create "observation posts" in Syria's Idlib province as part of a de-escalation agreement among Turkey, Russia and Iran should gain momentum.

One Turkish soldier was killed in Operation Olive Branch carried out by the Turkish army in Syria's Afrin district today, according to a military statement.

Their territory has expanded since they joined forces with the United States to fight Islamic State militants - although Washington opposes the Kurds' autonomy plans, as does Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Turkey-Iran relations have recently improved, but Tehran is seen to be increasingly concerned about the lack of clarity on the scope and duration of the Turkish military operation and Ankara's goals. Ankara accuses the YPG of being terrorists linked to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

Turkey said Thursday it is planning to host in Istanbul a new three-way summit on Syria with the presidents of Russian Federation and Iran, as the three powers seek to salvage increasingly fragile efforts to end the fighting.

"This institution has nothing to do with Turkishness and nothing about them is worthy of the notion of Turkishness", Erdogan said in his Thursday remarks about the group.

Rouhani also indirectly referred to Turkey's military offensive against a USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militia in northern Syria, saying: "We must try and act so that no country in the region feels threatened by its neighbors".

In a statement, Paulo Pinheiro, head of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said an ongoing Syrian government siege of Eastern Ghouta "involve (s) the international crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population".

In addition to border security, the Turkish General Staff says Operation Olive Branch is meant to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

Since defecting from the air force in 2012, Col. Raslan has fought against almost every side in the Syrian war.

The military also said "utmost diligence" was shown to avoid collateral damage to civilians. Lt. Gen Paul E. Funk said from the frontline in Syria on Wednesday that it was not his job to worry about Turkish vows to expand its operations. "Leave", Erdogan said, referring to American troops.

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