Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan arrive for a joint news conference following their meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Syrian opposition groups and the Syrian regime had signed a number of documents including a ceasefire deal that would take effect at midnight on the night of Dec. 29-30, with Russia and Turkey as guarantors.
Syrian state news agency SANA said on Thursday that the ceasefire announcement excludes the ISIS terrorist group.
Turkey and Russia will act as guarantors of the nationwide ceasefire, Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Ankara said the ceasefire agreement excluded groups deemed as terrorists by the U.N. Security Council and noted the importance of support from countries influential on the fighting sides.
“With this agreement, parties have agreed to cease all armed attacks, including aerial, and have promised not to expand the areas they control against each other,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Representatives from the Syrian government and the opposition will meet in Astana, Kazakhstan in the supervision of guarantor countries soon, the statement added.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that Ankara would not hold talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey would not give up its opposition to President Bashar al-Assad staying on as leader.
“The whole world knows it is not possible for there to be a political transition with Assad, and we also all know that it is impossible for these people to unite around Assad,” he added.
Furthermore, Putin has ordered the Russian military to scale down its presence in Syria, where it has provided crucial support to Assad’s forces.
Putin didn’t say how many troops and weapons will be withdrawn. He said Russia will continue “fighting international terrorism in Syria” and supporting Assad’s military.
Putin also said that the Russian military will maintain its presence at both an air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia and the naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus.
(Source / 29.12.2016)