Thu, Mar 2, 2017 | updated 01:34 AM IST

Syria ceasefire comes into effect after opposition signs Russia-backed deal

Updated: Dec 30, 2016 10:20 IST

London [UK], Dec. 30 (ANI): A ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia has come into effect across Syria after President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the opposition agreed to a nationwide deal.

The deal came into force at midnight (10 p.m. GMT) on Thursday, however, there were reports of clashes two hours later, reports the Guardian.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said rebels had violated the truce deal and taken over a position in Hama province. A rebel group also accused the government of shelling areas in Atshan and Skeik villages in Idlib province, which borders Hama.

It is the third ceasefire agreement this year.

There was confusion over which rebel groups have signed up, but officials from all sides said they hoped this time the pact would hold in the run-up to talks next month in Kazakhstan.

"We consider the ceasefire an important step to resolve the Syrian conflict. Along with the Russian Federation, we support this arrangement as a guarantor," said Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman for the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Notably absent from the brokering of the deal was the US, which has moved to the sidelines in recent months as Moscow has stepped up military and diplomatic involvement in Syria.

Rebel groups, including the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist movement and Jaysh al-Islam, which operates mostly near Damascus, signed up to the agreement after hours of negotiations in Ankara.

The Syrian military said it would cease combat operations except against terrorist groups including Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the former al-Qaida wing in Syria that has publicly severed ties with the global terror network.

"We have just received news that a few hours ago the event we have all been waiting for and working towards has happened," Russian President Vladimir Putin said of the signing of the deal.

Putin said that three documents had been signed: a ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government and the armed opposition; a list of control mechanisms to ensure the ceasefire would work; and a statement of intent to begin negotiations on a political end to the conflict. (ANI)

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