World

Syrian regime and rebels sign ceasefire deal

MOSCOW/ANKARA : Russian President Vladimir Putin said a ceasefire deal had been reached between Syrian opposition groups and the Assad government starting at midnight yesterday (6am, Singapore time).

The Syrian army announced a nationwide halt to the six-year-old war, but said Islamic State and ex-Nusra Front militants and all groups linked to them would be excluded from the deal.

Several rebel officials told Reuters they had agreed to the ceasefire plan, but there was uncertainty over which groups were included in the deal. Talks on a ceasefire picked up momentum after Russia, Iran and Turkey last week said they were ready to back a deal and adopted a declaration setting out principles that any agreement should adhere to.

Said Mr Putin: "The agreements reached are, of course, fragile, need special attention and involvement... But after all, this is a notable result of our joint work, efforts by the defence and foreign ministries, our partners in the regions."

He also said that Russia had agreed to reduce its military deployment in Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan held a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart yesterday to discuss the ceasefire.

They also discussed upcoming talks about Syria due to take place in the Kazakh capital Astana. 
- REUTERS

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