Syria conflict: Military says nationwide ceasefire agreed

Syria’s military has said it has agreed to a nationwide ceasefire with rebels starting from midnight. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said that his country and Turkey would guarantee the truce. The move is designed to pave the way for a political solution to the conflict after nearly six years of war. Mr Putin said it would be followed by peace talks between president Bashar al Assad’s government and the opposition. But the truce excludes Islamic State while there were conflicting reports about whether it also excluded another group formerly known as the Nusra Front.

With this agreement, parties have agreed to cease all armed attacks, including aerial, and have promised not to expand the areas they control against each other.

Statement from Turkey’s foreign ministry

Russia, a key backer of the Assad regime, said the truce would include 62,000 opposition fighters and that it had set up a hotline with Turkey - which backs the opposition - to monitor compliance. Mr Putin also said Russia would scale back its presence in the country, where it has provided crucial support to the government, though he did not specify how many troops or weapons would be withdrawn. Syrian state news agency SANA said the military “declares a comprehensive nationwide cessation of hostilities as of midnight”. It said this followed “successes achieved by the armed forces” - an apparent reference to the capture of rebel-held neighbourhoods in Aleppo earlier this month.