Turkey will hand over the Syrian city of Afrin to a central government when a new administration has been formed following elections, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli told reporters in the parliament on April 10.
The defense minister added that Ankara will continue taking measures in Afrin until terrorist threats in the region are eliminated.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Anara will return Afrin to its residents.
“This is a wrong approach. We know very well to whom we will return Afrin,” the president told reporters also in the parliament. “But, we will define the time.”
Erdogan also described as “very wrong” the approach of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the future of the Afrin area.
On April 9, Lavrov said that Russia expects Turkey to bring Afrin under the control of the Syrian government. However, it’s clear that Ankara is going to continue its occupation of the area.
Turkey launched its “Operation Olive Branch” on January 20 to clear it from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the US partner in Syria that is viewed as a terrorist group by Ankara. On March 18, the Turkish Army and Turkish-backed militants captured the Afrin town center, which had been the main stronghold of the YPG.