Russia and Turkey agree on new Syria ceasefire, rebel groups join

By @mik_mapa on
putin turkey meeting
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) following their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that a Syria ceasefire agreement has been reached with Turkey taking in effect on Thursday. The Syrian army also announced about the nationwide truce, confirming the participation of Syrian opposition groups.  

Osama Abu Zeid, spokesman for the main moderate Syrian opposition groups, said that 13 opposition groups have signed the agreement. However, according to reports, Islamic State, Kurdish YPG militia and ex-Nusra Front militants and all groups linked to them were not included. 

Rebel groups' loose alliance Free Syrian Army spokesman has confirmed that it would take part in future talks and abide by the ceasefire.  Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam and Jabha Shamiya are among the insurgent groups that signed the agreement. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 62,000 opposition fighters across Syria would be included in the peace talk. 

The current ceasefire announcement is the third nationwide peace talk agreement in Syria. The two previous talks were unsuccessful due to the accusations between parties that agreement violation was observed. 

Despite the failure of the two ceasefire agreements, a rebel commander has expressed optimism about the deal. He said that he has confidence in the seriousness of the agreement. He added that there is new international input in the agreement. 

According to the Associated Press, Putin admitted that the agreements were fragile and needed special attention and involvement. However, he said that it was a notable result of the joint efforts of the foreign and defence ministries that were Russia's partners in the regions.  He added that the military deployment in Syria would be reduced. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said that the ceasefire would be an important step to resolve the Syrian conflict. He said that the arrangement aimed to expand the truce in Aleppo and other parts of Syria. It also aimed to revitalise the political process and secure uninterrupted humanitarian assistance.​

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