World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Lavrov said Afrin was discussed during the trilateral summit in Ankara on April 5 in the context of Turkey's national security.
"Afrin question was discussed in line with the position, many times stated by President Erdogan, specifically, Turkey, in the conditions when the U.S. started making approaches to Kurdish squads, aiming to create a certain ‘security belt’ on the border with Iraq, President Erdogan saw a threat in such intentions and plans for the interests and security of Turkey," he said.
About Turkey’s presence in Afrin, he said: "And President Erdogan never stated that Turkey intended to occupy Afrin."
He added: "We assume that the simplest way of normalization in Afrin, now, when Turkish representatives say they have reached the fundamental purposes there [in Afrin], is to return the territory of Afrin under control of the Syrian government," he added.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin. On March 18, Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army members liberated the town of Afrin, on the 58th day of the operation.