A Syrian child reacts at a makeshift hospital in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, following reported air strikes on December 29, 2016. / AFP / Abd Doumany
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A cease-fire between Syrian government forces and opposition groups came into effect in Syria at midnight Thursday, an agreement that is hoped to be a prelude to peace talks aimed at putting an end to the country's bloody conflict.The cessation of hostilities, the first in more than three months, was announced earlier Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a key ally of the Syrian regime.It was the third nationwide cease-fire agreed in Syria this year.Putin said opposition groups and the Syrian regime had signed a number of documents, including the truce, measures to monitor the truce, and a statement on readiness to start talks.Three rebel officials told Reuters the deal excluded Daesh, but did include the Fatah al-Sham Front group, formerly Al-Qaeda's Syria branch, the Nusra Front – appearing to contradict the Syrian army's statement.The FSA spokesman said the cease-fire also does not include the Kurdish YPG militia, which has mostly avoided conflict with the Syrian government. Hezbollah troops have been fighting alongside Syrian government forces against rebels opposed to Assad.
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