Syrian rebels start to withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib demilitarised zone - Reuters

Rebel groups in the northwestern Syrian town of Idlib have begun to withdraw heavy weaponry from a demilitarised zone established by Turkey and Russia, Reuters quoted two Turkey-backed Syrian rebel officials as saying on Saturday. 

“The process of withdrawing heavy weapons began this morning and will continue for a number of days,” one rebel official told Reuters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month announced an agreement to create a demilitarised buffer zone in Idlib to be patrolled by Turkish and Russian soldiers. 

The deal set Oct. 10 as the deadline for Turkey to complete the disarmament of the rebel forces in the enclave. The radical rebel groups have to be removed from the demilitarised zone as of Oct. 15.

The deal between Turkey and Russia effectively postponed a military attack by the Syrian government, which has vowed to seize the control of the last rebel stronghold in the country.