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Turkey and Russia agree on zones of influence in Syria
09:19, 29 December 2016
Turkey and Russia agree on zones of influence in Syria

It is reported that Syria's President Bashar al-Assad could remain President another several years

09:19, 29 December 2016

Agence France-Presse

Turkey and Russia have ceasefire plan for Syria, reports Reuters. Turkey's foreign minister this said on Wednesday, adding that Ankara would continue to oppose to President Bashar al-Assad being a leader.

Turkish minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's comments appeared to signal tentative progress in talks aimed at reaching a truce. While the insistence on Assad's departure could complicate negotiations with his biggest backer, Russia, another Turkish official did not rule out a transitional role for the Syrian president.

Russia, Iran and Turkey said last week they were ready to help broker a peace deal after adopting a declaration in Moscow setting out principles that any agreement should adhere to. Russia has said the next talks are set for Astana, the Kazakh capital.

Related: Would Putin repeat Syrian scenario in Ukraine?

"There are two texts ready on a solution in Syria. One is about a political resolution and the other is about a ceasefire. They can be implemented any time," Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. He said Syria's opposition would never back Assad.

A senior Turkish government official said on Wednesday that future discussions would likely hash out Assad's role.

"We put importance on the establishment of a transitional government and that it would be one that meets the demands of the Syrian people," the official said. "Whether or not Assad will take place in the government will be discussed in the coming period."

Assad will not be attending the talks in Astana, which are likely to be held at undersecretary level "at most", the official added.

Related: Officer of Russia’s airborne troops killed in Syria

A senior rebel official said Moscow wanted a key rebel stronghold near the capital to be excluded from the ceasefire, a demand unacceptable to the rebels.

"Discussions are ongoing, with Turkish sponsorship, but the Russian enemy is trying to exclude the Eastern Ghouta (suburb) of Damascus from any attempt towards a comprehensive ceasefire in Syria that would be accepted by the revolution's factions," said Munir al Sayal of Ahrar al-Sham.

Earlier it was reported that airstrikes around Aleppo resumed in Syria. Air strikes were recorded for the first time since the operation on civilians evacuation.

Related: Several buses sent for evacuation of residents burned in Syria

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