Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sign on to an agreement with the rebels in Syria that will take effect at midnight, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. The two warring Muslim factions have agreed to a new ceasefire brokered by Russia, who backs Shiite President al-Assad, and Turkey, who backed the Sunni rebels.
Turkish officials are pushing for a complete withdrawal of Hezbollah from the country as part of the talks. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed a desire to involve fellow-Sunni nations Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the peace talks, two nations who have funded Sunni terror groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in the past. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Egypt would likely join the talks, and Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Jordan could eventually be included as well.
President Putin said he plans to reduce the Russian military footprint in the country and that Assad and the rebels would hold peace talks in Kazakhstan, but he did not announce a date.
Still, big challenges still remain in the nation and the region. For starters, it isn’t at all clear which rebel group, if any, have signed on to the deal, which makes no mention of what constitutes a violation of the ceasefire.