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Syrian Nationwide Cease-Fire Goes Into Force

**Damascus** The recently agreed upon cessation of hostilities went into force at midnight on Thursday, as declared by the Syrian army.

The nationwide ceasefire was brokered by Russia and Turkey and agreed upon by Syria, and major opposition and rebel groups, while terror-designated organisations such as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Islamic State (IS), were excluded, Xinhua news agency reported.

While previous cease-fires have failed to hold in Syria, the new one is particularly distinct as it enjoys the approval of all concerned parties, mainly Turkey, which has a major influence on the rebel groups operating in Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Thursday evening that the cease-fire constitutes a “real chance” to establish a political settlement in Syria.

The cease-fire comes after the Syrian army and its allied fighters re-took the city of Aleppo in northern Syria, after dealing a big blow to the rebels, said al-Moallem.

He noted that the new cease-fire is distinct from the previous failing ones due to the “strong Russian guarantees,” saying that Russia is a partner in fighting terrorism.

According to the Kremlin, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised to honour the newly-clinched ceasefire agreement in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

(IANS)

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