By Burcu Calik and Sinan Uslu
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said the issue of pro-regime terror groups in Syria's Afrin was "closed for now".
Pro-regime groups earlier on Tuesday, who tried to enter Syria’s Afrin to support YPG/PKK-Daesh against Turkey’s ongoing operation in the region, withdrew before reaching the city following a series of warning shots.
Speaking at a joint news conference alongside his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov in Ankara, Erdogan said there was a movement towards Afrin by Shia militias which were interrupted after they were shelled.
"But then they were forced to go back after artillery shooting, this file is closed for now," he said.
"Yesterday, we have already agreed on these issues in talks with [Vladimir] Putin and [Hassan] Rouhani,” Erdogan said. “Unfortunately, you know, these kinds of terrorist organizations have [sometimes] taken wrong steps with the decisions on their own."
On Monday, Erdogan talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over Turkey’s ongoing operation, the fight against terrorist elements and the latest developments in Syria, particulary Afrin and Idlib.
"It is impossible to give them [any terrorist organization] a chance [in Afrin]. They would pay a heavy price for it,” he added.
The withdrawal of the pro-Bashar al-Assad terror groups came when they were about 10 km (about 6 miles) away from Afrin, in northwestern Syria.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and that "utmost care" was being taken to not harm civilians.