A Syrian man rides his bicycle past a destroyed building in the district of Jisr al-Shughur, in the northwestern Idlib province, on September 29, 2017. / AFP / Omar haj kadour
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Turkey is luring militants away from the militant alliance that controls Syria's northwestern Idlib province as a step toward implementing a deal to reduce violence there, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.Cavusoglu said the first stage, already underway, was to separate "moderate rebels" from "terror organizations" – a reference to Nusra, which cut ties with Al-Qaeda last year, rebranded itself and now spearheads the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham militant alliance that dominates Idlib.At least 2 million people live in Idlib, the largest populated Syrian area held by rebels – including some nationalist Free Syrian Army factions who sometimes fought alongside militants.The rebel source said up to 2,000 fighters being trained by Turkish forces could deploy to Idlib, where many people have close ties to Turkey and could welcome a Turkish presence.
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