On January 31, the Turkish Army and its proxies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the highest peak on the Qurne Mountains north of the city of Afrin, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency. The Syrian pro-opposition news outlet STEP News released a video showing Turkish Leopard 2A4 battle tanks involved in the attack on Qurne.
The Turkish Air Force (TAF) also conducted a new wave of airstrikes against the positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) northeast of Afrin, according to Turkish sources.
In a related development, Chairman of the Executive Council in Afrin area Hifi Mustafa denied that the YPG is planning to hand over the Afrin area to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), according to the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik. Haifi said that the YPG is currently negotiating with Russia in order to “stop the Turkish attack on Afrin” but didn’t provide any further information.
Earlier, a senior diplomatic adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey is not going to hand over the Syrian area of Afrin to the Damascus government if it’s able to capture it.
These Turkish and Kurdish statements confirm that both sides are not ready to reach a political solution for the Afrin crisis yet.