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The Latest: Fighters stop protesters outside Syria town

September 28, 2018

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments related to Syria (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists say al-Qaida-linked fighters have prevented demonstrators from entering a key northwestern town controlled by extremists.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said members of al-Qaida-linked Horas al-Din, Arabic for Guardians of Religion, and other militants prevented the protesters from entering Jisr al-Shughour that has been held by jihadis since 2015.

A Syria-based activist said armed insurgents waving black banners marched toward the protesters and forced them to leave.

The activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, says the militants consider the pro-democracy protesters heretics.

Thousands of people have marched every Friday in recent weeks against a government offensive on Idlib province.

The attack was averted last week in a deal reached between Russia and Turkey to set up a demilitarized zone.

__ By Bassem Mroue

___

10:45 a.m.

Turkey’s president is accusing the United States of failing to abide by a deal for a U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia to withdraw from a town it had liberated from Islamic State militants in northern Syria.

Washington and Ankara struck the deal in June to defuse tensions. It calls for the militia to leave the strategic town of Manbij and for joint Turkish-U.S. patrols there.

Ankara considers the Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG militia a terror group that’s part of a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the U.S. hasn’t honored the agreed-on “roadmap” for Manbij.

Erdogan says “America has not kept up with the roadmap and schedule for Manbij. The (YPG) has not left the region.”

His comments were published in Hurriyet newspaper on Friday.

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