Turkey, World, Middle East

Nationwide cease-fire in Syria to start midnight

Turkey, Russia will act as guarantor countries

Nationwide cease-fire in Syria to start midnight


The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that the warring parties in Syria have agreed to a nationwide cease-fire scheduled to start in a matter of hours on Dec. 30 at 12 midnight local time (2200GMT).

The ministry said the Syrian regime and opposition had decided that groups designated as terrorists by the United Nations Security Council fell outside the deal.

Turkey and the Russian Federation will act as guarantor countries in supporting 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 its 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 regime of Bashar al-Assad and the opposition would soon meet in Astana, Kazakhstan with the presence of the guarantor countries, to take significant steps towards revitalizing the UN-led political process.

Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu stated on Twitter: "We welcome the understanding reached between the conflicting/warring parties in Syria on a country-wide ceasefire."

Meanwhile, the Syrian Defense Ministry said the regime’s General Command of the Armed Forces had declared it would abide by the comprehensive cessation to start midnight -- 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 said in a statement to Anadolu Agency. 

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