Russia, Turkey announce Syria ceasefire deal

Photo credit: www.timesofisrael.com
Photo credit: www.timesofisrael.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that the Syrian Government and rebels had agreed to a ceasefire, and that Russia and Turkey would act as guarantors.

The Syrian government confirmed the deal, with the army saying that a nationwide ceasefire would take effect at midnight local time (2200 GMT).

The Syrian National Coalition, a main opposition grouping, on Thursday backed the ceasefire deal and called on rebel fighters to abide by the nationwide truce.

“The coalition calls on various opposition groups to implement the ceasefire agreement and foil any attempt by Iran and its militias to return to escalation,’’ Samir Nashar, a member of the West-backed alliance said.

Iran and its allied Lebanese Hezbollah movement backed the Syrian government in the conflict of more than five years.

“The Free Syrian Army will abide by the truce, but it will retaliate for any breach,’’ Mr. Nashar added, referring to the armed wing of the coalition.

The truce excludes the Islamic State extremist militia, the formerly al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham Front and their affiliates, the Syrian army said in a statement.

“The decision to halt combat actions is aimed at providing favourable conditions to back the political course of the crisis in Syria,” the Syrian Army command said in a statement carried by Syria’s state news agency SANA

Russia and Turkey have supported opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, but in recent months, amid a rapprochement in their relations, have ramped up efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The latest ceasefire comes a week after Syrian forces regained full control of Aleppo after a Russia-backed campaign forced rebel fighters to leave their last enclave in the northern city.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011 with a crackdown on mostly peaceful anti-government protests.

World powers have made numerous attempts to end the war. Past truces have largely held only for brief periods, allowing in some humanitarian aid or letting people flee. Some local ceasefire has been more successful.

The ceasefire involves more than 60,000 rebels, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says.

Russia, Turkey and Iran will help guarantee that the “fragile’’ ceasefire is observed, Russian President Putin said at a meeting with Mr. Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russia also intends to reduce its military presence in Syria, Putin said.

The Minister expressed hope that the United States under Donald Trump, who would be inaugurated as president in January, would join the Russian-backed initiative in Syria.


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  • CeeCee1818

    Syrians won’t have a country to come back to, after all that bombing.