A “fragile” nationwide ceasefire deal between the Syrian government and main opposition groups went into effect at midnight local time (22:00 UTC) on Friday.


Russia, Turkey and Iran are set to act as guarantors for the deal that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced earlier on Thursday. He said the two sides had expressed a readiness to start peace talks when signing the truce deal, which had been brokered by Turkey and Russia.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the ceasefire would include about 60,000 rebel fighters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the agreement as a “historic opportunity” to end the Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 310,000 people and forced millions from their homes.

The latest ceasefire agreement comes one week after troops aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regained full control of Aleppo after a Russia-backed campaign forced rebel fighters out of their last enclaves.

Previous ceasefire agreements in the country have largely held for only brief periods, allowing for humanitarian aid deliveries or for people to flee.