Turkey, Russia agree on cease-fire plan in Syria

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People walk amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike in Aleppo in April 2016

An unnamed Turkish official reportedly said on Wednesday that Turkey and Russia had reached an agreement to implement a nationwide cease-fire in Syria that would come into effect after midnight.

Turkey’s official news agency reported the news on Wednesday morning after Turkey brought Russia and opposition forces in Syria together for negotiations in Ankara.

According to the agreement terrorist organizations would not be included in the cease-fire.

After talks with Russia and Iran last week, Turkey had declared a significant change in its Syria policy. While Turkey for years insisted on the removal of embattled Syrian President Bashar al Assad, last week Russia announced that Turkey agrees that regime change is not the number one priority in Syria, but fight against terrorism.

On Monday, İbrahim Kalın, the spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had said that Turkey would participate in the Syria talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana as a guarantor country.

“The Astana process will be in addition to the United Nations process. Turkey, Russia and İran will be guarantor countries, but the Syrian regime and opposition will negotiate,” said Kalın during a press conference in Ankara, adding that work on the participants and the date was under way.

After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Monday that “Kazakhstan is ready to host all sides for talks in Astana.”

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