Syrian activists and an al-Qaida-linked militant say a U.N.-backed truce deal for two key Syrian front-lines has been reached. The deal allows rebels to evacuate from an area besieged by pro-government forces in exchange for an evacuation of thousands of Shiites from two villages surrounded by militants.

In a TV interview posted on social media Friday, militant Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini, said rebels be allowed to leave Zabadani, besieged by pro-government forces along Lebanon's border.

He said in exchange, about 10,000 Shiites will leave two villages surrounded by a coalition of al-Qaida-linked militants and other insurgents in northern Idlib province.

U.N. spokeswoman Jessy Chahine says the U.N. facilitated contacts between the parties but wouldn't elaborate.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkey and Iran also backed the deal.