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Syria, rebel groups sign cease-fire, Russian president says

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said a cease-fire agreement between the Syrian regime and opposition groups was reached, while peace negotiations are set to begin in Kazahkstan. File Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin/Pool
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said a cease-fire agreement between the Syrian regime and opposition groups was reached, while peace negotiations are set to begin in Kazahkstan. File Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin/Pool

MOSCOW, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups on Thursday agreed to a cease-fire.

The truce will come into effect at midnight Thursday. Putin made the comment during a meeting with Russian foreign and defense ministers. The Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham -- formerly the al-Nusra Front -- are not included in the agreement.

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Peace negotiations between Assad's regime and rebel groups -- mediated by Russia, Iran and Turkey -- are set to begin in Kazakhstan. Russia and Iran are allies with Assad's regime while Turkey is allied to most rebel group seeking to overthrow Assad.

"Reports have just arrived that several hours ago there was a development that we all have looked and worked for for so long," Putin said. "Three documents have been signed. A cease-fire between the Syrian government and the armed opposition is one. A package of measures to control the cease-fire is another. And a declaration of readiness to enter into peace talks on a settlement in Syria is the third."

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The cease-fire announcement comes after Assad's regime seized full control of Aleppo, the east of which was once a rebel stronghold.

"As we understand very well, all the agreements reached are very fragile, they demand special attention and patience, a professional approach to these issues and a constant contact with our partners," Putin added.

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