Turkey says Syrian rebels withdraw heavy weapons in Idlib

Turkey says Syrian rebels withdraw heavy weapons in Idlib

Turkey says Syrian rebels withdraw heavy weapons in Idlib

In September, Russia and Turkey agreed to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib along the line of the engagement of the Syrian troops and the opposition.

He said Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation could expand their regional cooperation in Syria by overcoming all oppositions in order to add newer dimensions to security, defense and military issues. He added that the opposition forces will keep their forward bases and light and medium weapons in place.

HTS and smaller militant factions quietly began withdrawing theirs on Saturday in an operation that continued through Monday night, the Observatory said.

Under the deal, the zone must be free by October 15 of all extremists, including those of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the region's dominant force led by former Al-Qaeda fighters.

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Haid Haid, an associate fellow at the Chatham House think-tank, said HTS had made the "pragmatic" move of pulling out its heavy weapons.

According to the deal, the zone would separate rebel and regime zones under the supervision of the two sponsor countries.

According to Haid Haid, an analyst at the british think-tank Chatham House, the withdrawal of heavy weapons was the easy part of the agreement.

But a source close to the group told AFP it had come under irresistible pressure to fall into line to avoid further hardship for the rebel zone's three million residents, many of whom have fled previous bloody government offensives on other parts of Syria.

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"The implementation of the Sochi agreement will bring security to the people of the region", he said.

After a series of victories near Damascus and in the south of the country earlier this year, a similar Moscow-backed assault had been expected against Idlib before the Russia-Turkey deal was announced.

More than 360,000 people have been killed since the civil war erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

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