By Sarp Ozer and Burcu Calik
Turkish Chief of the General Staff on Saturday talked on phone with his U.S. counterpart Gen. Joseph Dunford and Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov before the start of Operation Olive Branch, a statement said.
According to the statement issued by Turkish General Staff, the phone talks were held on the request from the U.S. and Russian sides.
Turkey started “Operation Olive Branch" on Saturday at 5 p.m. [1400GMT] in Afrin. The operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to eliminate terrorists and to protect Syrian people from the terrorists’ oppression and cruelty.
The operation is carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions and self-defense right under UN charter, said the military.
The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Since the mid-1980s, the PKK has waged a wide-ranging terror campaign against the Turkish state in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.
More than 1,200 security personnel have been martyred since July 2015 when the group resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state following a fragile cease-fire.