Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced that the Syrian regime and rebels had signed a ceasefire deal and agreed to start peace talks.
Putin said in televised comments that Damascus and the bulk of the armed opposition had signed a document on a ceasefire in Syria and also an announcement on their readiness to start peace negotiations.
“Three documents have been signed. The first is a document between the Syrian government and armed opposition for a ceasefire on the territory of Syria,” Putin said at a meeting with his defence and foreign ministers.
“The second document is a set of measures to verify the ceasefire. The third document is an announcement of their readiness to start peace talks.”
The truce deal will go into effect from midnight, Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu said, with the Syrian military announcing that it was gearing up to halt all operations.
Shoigu said the rebel groups that have signed up to the ceasefire comprise some 62,000 fighters and that negotiations had been going on for two months to secure the truce.
Syria’s opposition National Coalition announced that it backed a nationwide ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia that will take effect from midnight.
As a result of the ceasefire deal, Putin said that Russia would now reduce its forces in Syria, while insisting that Moscow would maintain its support for the Syrian government.
“I agree with the proposal from the defence ministry for the reduction of our military presence in Syria,” Putin said, without giving any more details on the move.