Turkey-backed Syrian forces begin implementing Idlib truce

Turkey-backed Syrian forces begin implementing Idlib truce
Map shows the latest areas of control by Pro-Assad, Kurdish, Islamic State and Free Syrian Army forces.

BEIRUT (AP) — A Turkey-backed umbrella group for Syrian rebels says it has begun implementing a deal reached between Russia and Turkey to demilitarize the front lines between the opposition and Syrian government forces in the northern Idlib province.

Naji al-Mustafa, spokesman for the 15-member National Front for Liberation, says Sunday the groups are unanimous in implementing the deal reached last month and expect to demilitarize 15-20 kilometers (9-12 miles) along the front lines by Oct. 15.

He says Turkish troops have reinforced the areas to monitor violations. Al-Mustafa says opposition forces began pulling their heavy weaponry back a day earlier and will keep their forward bases and light and medium weapons in place.

The largest armed group in Idlib, an al-Qaida affiliate, has not said whether it will comply with the deal.