Erdoğan, Macron discuss Syria, Iraq in phone call

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron held a phone call Saturday to discuss the current situation in Iraq and Syria.

Erdogan and Macron exchanged views on developments in the region, and strengthening bilateral ties between Turkey and France.

The two leaders also stressed the importance of preserving Iraq and Syria's territorial integrity in their phone call, presidential sources said.

Earlier in the day, Erdogan had asserted that Turkey was not going to allow an "operation" against the territorial integrity of its neighbors.

"Since we do not allow any operations against our own country, we will also not allow any operations against the territorial integrity of our neighbors," he said.

Erdogan also announced Saturday that a "major" operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province had been launched with Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), and air support from Russia, following international efforts for de-escalation in the war-torn country.

Calling the operation a "new step" to establish security in Idlib, he promised Turkey would not desert civilians there.

The call came amid ongoing tensions in the region following a referendum held by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on September 25.

The illegitimate referendum saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul -- vote on whether or not to declare independence.

Along with Iraq's central government, Turkey, the US, Iran, and the UN have spoken out against Monday's illegitimate poll, warning it would distract from the ongoing fight against ISIS and further destabilize the region.


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