Yesterday, pro-Turkish Olive Branch forces captured the imperative tactical point of Mount Bersaya after serious fighting with the YPG. The clashes left several dead and wounded on both sides. At the southern slope of the mountain, rebel militias also captured the Yezidi village of Qastal Jundu (Qestele), which was defended by a YPG trench.
How was this advance possible after a week of stagnant fighting? Video evidence reveals that several dozen members of Turkey’s 3rd Corps, one of its best-equipped and most flexible units, took part in the operation. The 3rd Corps is a NATO-transformed Rapid Deployable Corps, which is designed to be “a highly ready and technologically advanced force made up of land, air, sea, and Special Operations Forces components that can be deployed at short notice to wherever needed”. Seeing as the rebel fighters alone found it quite difficult to make much progress on Mount Bersaya, it is likely that the Turkish military command decided to field a well-trained and equipped force to seize the vital hilltop fortifications. Their decision has paid off so far, resulting in the capture of an important holdout along the border, but whether the hilltop can be held remains to be seen.