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Syria: Nationwide cease-fire underway

30th Dec 2016
Syria: Nationwide cease-fire underway

ANKARA (AA): A nationwide cease-fire in Syria took effect at midnight (2200GMT) Dec. 30, after a deal was brokered with Turkey, Russia and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Within the scope of the cease-fire, warring parties pledged to stop armed attacks, from land or air, and not to expand territories against each other.

The United Nations Security Council will hold a closed meeting Friday to discuss the situation in the wake of the cease-fire, according to a UN statement that did not specify who called the meeting.

The Turkish foreign ministry said the Syrian regime and opposition decided groups designated as terrorists by the United Nations Security Council would fall outside the deal.

Turkey and the Russian Federation will act as guarantor countries in support of the cease-fire, a Turkish statement added.

“The parties, with this understanding, committed to cease all armed, including aerial, attacks, and refrain from acquiring territory from one another/expanding the territories under their control at the expanse of one another.

“Turkey and Russia strongly support and will jointly monitor the cease-fire/cessation of hostilities,” the ministry said.

The statement added that Turkey would continue efforts to ensure a political transition in Syria on the basis of the Geneva Declaration and UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which mandates intra-Syrian talks.

Turkey said the Assad government and the opposition would soon meet in Astana, Kazakhstan, with the presence of the guarantor countries, to take significant steps toward revitalizing the UN-led political process.

“We welcome the understanding reached between the conflicting/warring parties in Syria on a country-wide ceasefire,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Defense Ministry said the regime’s General Command of the Armed Forces will abide by the comprehensive cessation of hostilities — excluding Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the al-Nusra Front, plus affiliates.

“The move is aimed at creating favorable conditions to support the political course of the crisis in Syria,” the Syrian military statement added.

In Washington, the U.S., which was not party to the negotiations, said it would welcome “any effort that stops the violence, saves lives, and creates the conditions for renewed and productive political negotiations.”

“The international community hopes this ceasefire will hold so a Syrian-led transition toward a more representative, united, and peaceful government can begin,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told Anadolu Agency.
Muhabir Satuk Buğra Kutlugün,Canberk Yüksel

[Photo: Spokesman for Syrian armed opposition groups Osama Abu Zaid holds a press conference on the ceasefire between Syrian opposition groups and the Syrian government, at Anadolu Hotels Downtown in Ankara, Turkey on December 29, 2016.
Photographer: Muhabiri Güven Yılmaz/AA]

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