Mud blocks Arab fighters from Afrin advance

Fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a Syrian opposition force backed by Turkey, have been kept out of the Turkish operation against armed Kurdish groups in the northwest Syrian area of Afrin due to mud, the left-wing Turkish news site Diken reports.

Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to combat the mostly-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which it regards as satellites of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist-designated group in Turkey. Thousands of fighters from Syrian opposition groups affiliated to Turkey are taking part in the operation.

The FSA fighters were due to advance over Mount Barsa, according to Diken’s news. However, they reported that they were forced to turn back because their vehicles could not drive through the muddy terrain, which they said was also “unsuitable for walking on”.

Mount Barsa lies near the border with Turkey, at the very north of the Aleppo Governorate, where Afrin is located.