Vladimir Putin Announces Syria Truce Deal, Peace Talks
- Author: Kyle Warner Jan 03, 2017,
Jan 03, 2017, 1:43
If the agreement holds, he said it would allow Russian Federation to scale down its military presence in Syria.
Syria suggested that its taking of Eastern Aleppo, which is part of Syria's second largest city and had been a stronghold for opposition fighters, earlier this month had paved the way for the deal.
The resolution approved on Saturday afternoon calls for the "rapid, safe and unhindered" delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria.
The Syrian army announced a nationwide halt to fighting to begin at midnight on Thursday, in a move created to pave the way for a political solution to end the country's six-year-old war.
Washington is conspicuously absent from the new process, but Moscow said it hoped to bring USA president-elect Donald Trump's administration on board once he takes office in January.
Russia, on the other hand, launched a campaign of air strikes previous year in support of President Bashar al-Assad and his forces to battle opposition groups, some of which are supported by the US.
As its cooperation tightened with Moscow, Turkey stood conspicuously quiet as the regime, supported by Russian Federation, took control last week of Aleppo, handing the rebels their biggest defeat in the civil war so far.
Likewise, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's statement Thursday that all foreign fighter groups must leave Syria - including Hezbollah, the Tehran-backed, Lebanese Shia militia that has been a key ally for Assad - highlighted another potential source of tension between the deal's power brokers.
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Western members of the council had sought changes to the draft resolution circulated by Russian Federation and Turkey during consultations Saturday morning to clarify the role of the United Nations and the meaning of the agreement brokered by Moscow and Ankara.
Churkin said de Mistura has been in contact with the Russian government and "indicated his eagerness to help organize the Astana meetings.so we expect the United Nations to be fully involved in the preparations of the meetings".
The truce, which went into effect on Thursday night, will be followed by a new round of peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in the Kazakh capital Astana.
"We support the shifts in positions of some worldwide powers and the positive, honest efforts that could represent a starting point for realising the Syrian people's aspirations by reaching an agreement that brings security and stability", Riad Hijab, general coordinator for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said in a written statement distributed to the press.
It added that positions in Wadi Barada near Damascus - held by opposition forces, including allied jihadists from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which was known as al-Nusra Front until it formally broke ties with al-Qaeda in July - were also bombarded.
While Assad seems to be on an inevitable trajectory to victory, simply retaking territory from the numerous rebel groups that still control much of Syria will not end the violence.
JFS said on Friday it would continue to fight President Assad, with a spokesman saying the political solution under the truce would "reproduce the criminal regime".
The talks will be mediated by Russia, Turkey, and the Islamic Republic of Iran.