2 rebel groups start weapon withdrawal from planned demilitarized zone in northern Syria
Two rebel groups started withdrawing heavy weapons from the planned demilitarized zone in northern Syria on Saturday, a war monitor reported.
The Turkey-backed Failaq al-Sham and the “Idlib Army” started withdrawing heavy mortar launchers from the eastern and southeastern countryside of the town of Marat al-Numan in the northwestern province of Idlib, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
On Sept. 30, Turkey and Russia agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in northwestern Syria by Oct. 15 between the Syrian forces and the rebel groups.
The demilitarized zone is planned to be established in areas between Aleppo, the northeastern countryside of Latakia Province and Idlib.
The rebels will have to withdraw heavy weapons from the planned area with the Turkish and Russian forces patrolling the demilitarized zone.
Idlib is the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.
The Syrian army was planning to launch a wide-scale offensive to retake Idlib as well as rebel-held pockets in the northern countryside of Hama, the northeastern countryside of Latakia and the western countryside of Aleppo.
While the Turkish-backed rebels have started withdrawing some heavy weapons from the planned demilitarized zone, the al-Qaida linked groups have expressed rejection to the deal.