The Latest: Turkey pushing for Syrian truce by year’s end

BEIRUT — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Turkey’s ruling party says the government is pushing for a Syrian cease-fire to be in place “as we enter 2017.”

Yasin Aktay, the spokesman for the Justice and Development Party, could not however confirm a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that said Turkey and Russia had reached an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire and were working to ensure that it would come into effect after midnight Wednesday.

Aktay told reporters: “Talks are taking place. Turkey’s insistence is … to bring the sides together and for a cease-fire to come about as we enter 2017.”

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2 p.m.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the United Nations envoy for Syria has promised to help negotiate a cease-fire in Syria and assist with proposed peace talks in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

The ministry said in a statement that Staffan de Mistura welcomed the results of last week’s talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran in a phone call Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

It said de Mistura “expressed the U.N. readiness to help implement them, including the preparation of a cease-fire agreement between the Syrian government and the armed opposition and the holding of talks in Astana.” No date for those talks has been set yet.

In the conversation, Lavrov also accused some U.N. officials of

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/the-latest-activists-at-least-20-killed-in-syria-airstrike/2016/12/28/5e47ceb8-ccdc-11e6-85cd-e66532e35a44_story.html

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