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Putin Announces Ceasefire in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) listens to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 29, 2016. Kremlin Press Service

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that a ceasefire agreement has been reached between Syrian government forces and "armed opposition groups."

Both sides have agreed to enter peace talks, though Putin did not specify exactly which "armed opposition" groups he was referring to.

According to Putin, the agreement was reached after talks between Russia, Iran and Turkey. Both Russia and Turkey will act as guarantors.

As a result of the new agreement, Putin also announced that Russia's military presence in Syria, which first arrived in October 2015, will be reduced. 

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the ceasefire would officially go into effect at midnight on the night of Dec. 29-30. Russia and Turkey will act as guarantors of the armistice.

Shoigu also said that the current ceasefire agreement was the result of talks lasting two months. According to him, it was concluded with armed groups controlling a large part of central Syria. Shoigu warned that any groups not acceding to the agreement would be declared terrorist groups.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the agreement would also be offered to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar and the United States.

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