Putin: Syrian gov’t has signed cease-fire agreement with rebels
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Thursday that a cease-fire agreement, scheduled to go into effect at midnight, has been signed by the Syrian military and rebel groups. Following a meeting with his defense and foreign ministers, Putin said the "very fragile" agreement requires "special attention and patience, professional attitude, and constant contact with our partners." He said it consists of three main documents: one signed by the Syrian government and the opposition to halt hostilities; one specifying the measures for maintaining the cease-fire; and one with a declaration of intention to resolve the conflict. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said seven rebel groups with a total of about 60,000 soldiers signed the agreement, and that a hotline had been set up between the Russian and Turkish military commands to help maintain the truce. He added that "All conditions have been created for the reduction of the Russian group in Syria" without specifying the timing of such a withdrawal or the units to be sent home.