Russia announces new Syrian cease-fire deal

FILE -- In this Feb. 24, 2016 file photo, a Syrian shopkeeper waits for customers next to paintings of of President Bashar Assad, and Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, center, at the Souk Tawil market in Damascus, Syria. Turkey said Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, that Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group, which has sent thousands of fighters to support President Bashar Assad, should withdraw from Syria. In an interview with Turkey's A Haber news channel, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said Turkey and Russia are close to reaching an agreement on a nationwide Syrian cease-fire that would come into effect by the end of the year. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

BEIRUT (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin says a Syrian cease-fire agreement has been reached with Turkey.

Putin said Thursday that Russia and Turkey will guarantee the truce, which is set to begin at midnight. He says it will be followed by peace talks between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposition, and that the Syrian parties would take part in talks to be held in Kazakhstan, without specifying a date.

Syria’s military said it had agreed to a nationwide cease-fire starting at midnight.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says the truce will include 62,000 opposition fighters across Syria, and that the Russian military has established a hotline with its Turkish counterpart to monitor compliance.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that that President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will be welcome to join the Syrian peace process once he takes office.

Russia is a key ally of Assad, while Turkey is one of the main backers of the opposition. Several previous attempts to halt the civil war have failed.