World, Middle East

Turkey, Russia agree on nationwide Syria cease-fire bid

Ankara, Moscow will work for cease-fire to go into effect in Syria at midnight; deal excludes terrorist groups

Turkey, Russia agree on nationwide Syria cease-fire bid


Turkey and Russia have agreed on a plan for the warring parties in Syria to declare a nationwide cease-fire, a confidential Turkish source said Wednesday. 

The plan is expected to be carried out in all areas where the Assad regime and the opposition are fighting, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media. 

The source said that under the plan, Ankara and Moscow will work for the cease-fire to come into force at midnight on Wednesday. 

It added that terrorist organizations will be excluded from the deal. 

The source also said that if the cease-fire succeeds, political negotiations will start in the capital of Kazakhstan under Turkey and Russia’s guidance. 

Sergey Jeleznyak, a member of the Duma's international relations committee, told RIA Novosti the plan was an "important" step towards political solution in Syria and the stability of the Middle East.

"This decision has a strategic character and it may end to a large extent the Syrian crisis," Jeleznyak said.

He also said the Turkish-Russian-Iranian format had proved its "efficiency" for ensuring peace in Syria. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia, Turkey and Iran had agreed to an earlier proposal to bring together representatives of the Syrian regime and opposition in Kazakhstan.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has expressed his "readiness" to provide a platform for talks in Astana to solve the long-standing crisis. 

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests – which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity. 

Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-torn country, according to the UN.

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