DAMASCUS, SYRIA (07:55 PM) – Turkish-backed rebels from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) have fully captured the town of Bulbul on Thursday, in the far north of the northern Syrian district of Afrin, after driving the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out of the area after heavy clashes.
Pictures released by the FSA militants show a web of underground tunnels that allegedly reaches all the way into Turkish territory. The tunnel system was uncovered after an earlier offensive by the rebel forces in which they captured a strategic YPG hilltop military base overlooking Bulbul town.
Because of the rugged terrain of the Syrian-Turkish borderlands, and because of most towns generally lying at the foot of hillsides, the FSA rebels and Turkish military forces generally focus on taking hilly territory first, as the surrounding towns generally tend to fall soon afterwards.
The FSA is a foreign-backed and self-professed “moderate” Syrian rebel organisation, that has been active in the war since its very beginning. While its importance in the Syrian conflict had been waning to a point of near irrelevance for a long time, the direct involvement of Turkish forces as part of “Operation Olive Branch” has seen a resurgence of FSA offensives with backing from Ankara.