Turkey and Russia have reached an agreement for a countrywide cease-fire plan to end the conflict in Syria, Turkish and international news outlets reported Dec. 28. The plan, which would come into effect at midnight Dec. 29, imposes a cessation of hostilities on the armed opposition as well as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu Agency, groups that both Ankara and Moscow consider terrorist — meaning Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra) and the Islamic State — will not be included in the cease-fire.
The Turkish-Russian agreement comes in the wake of a more limited deal between Ankara and Moscow that enabled the withdrawal of civilians trapped in the rebel-held districts in northwestern Syria's Aleppo. If the comprehensive cease-fire plan holds, the multilateral peace talks that are likely to be held in the Kazakh capital, Astana, next month will have a better chance of ending Syria’s tragic civil war.