Yesterday we reported that, in what was the latest "PR fiasco" for the outgoing Obama administration, Turkey and Russia sat down, and appeared on the edge of hammering out a ceasefire plan for Syria between the two nations - something which the UN has been unable to achieve for years - in a deal which would not include the United States and be distinct from separate intermittent U.N.-brokered negotiations, which have so far failed to end the fighting in the proxy Syria war.
Then moments ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed an agreement has been reached on ceasefire in Syria and the start of peace talks.
Quoted by AP, Putin said that Russia and Turkey will guarantee the truce, which is set to begin at midnight. He says it will be followed by peace talks between Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition, and that the Syrian parties would take part in talks to be held in Kazakhstan, without specifying a date.
Syria's military confirmed that it had agreed to a nationwide cease-fire starting at midnight.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says the truce will include 62,000 opposition fighters across Syria, and that the Russian military has established a hotline with its Turkish counterpart to monitor compliance.
Leaving an olive branch for the new US administration, if not for Obama, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that that President-elect Donald Trump's administration will be welcome to join the Syrian peace process once he takes office.
Russia is a key ally of Assad, while Turkey is one of the main backers of the opposition. Several previous attempts to halt the civil war have failed, which is why today's agreement, coming just days after the dramatic retaking of Aleppo by Assad's forces, is especially historic... if it lasts.
“This agreement we’ve reached is very fragile, as we all understand. They require special attention and patience, professional attitude, and constant contact with our partners,” Putin said at a meeting with Russian foreign and defense ministers.
The agreement, which was previously announced by Turkey, is set to take effect at midnight on December 30 according to Russia's defense minister and is detailed in three documents/
“The first was signed by the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition to stop hostilities in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. The second one is a set of measures to control the ceasefire. The third document is a declaration of intention for Syrian settlement,” the Russian president said cited by RT.
The truce is supported by seven major armed opposition groups that have over 60,000 fighters in their ranks, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said.He added that if the agreement holds, it would allow Russia to scale down its military presence in Syria.