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Putin finally announces Syria ceasefire

By The Citizen
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that the Syrian Government and rebels had agreed to a ceasefire, and that Russia and Turkey would act as guarantors.

The Syrian government confirmed the deal, with the army saying that a nationwide ceasefire would take effect at midnight local time (2200 GMT).

The truce excludes the Islamic State extremist militia, the formerly al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham Front and their affiliates, the Syrian army said in a statement.

'The decision to halt combat actions is aimed at providing favourable conditions to back the political course of the crisis in Syria,'' the army command said in a statement carried by Syria's state news agency SANA

Russia and Turkey have supported opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, but in recent months, amid a rapprochement in their relations, have ramped up efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The latest ceasefire comes a week after Syrian forces regained full control of Aleppo after a Russia-backed campaign forced rebel fighters to leave their last enclave in the northern city.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011 with a crackdown on mostly peaceful anti-government protests.

World powers have since made numerous attempts to end the war. Past truces have largely held only for brief periods, allowing in some humanitarian aid or letting people flee. Some local ceasefire has been more successful.