Today’s News: Dec. 30, 2016

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stand atop a damaged tank near Umayyad mosque in Aleppo, Syria, on December 13. (Omar Sanadiki/ Reuters)

The ceasefire in Syria that went into effect at midnight Friday appears to be holding despite some clashes. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, said there were clashes in Maharda town as well as near Hama. There were no reports of any deaths, SOHR said. As we reported Thursday, Turkey and Russia announced the ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebels, and said they would, along with Iran, act as guarantors of the truce. The warring factions in the more than five-year civil war are expected to meet next month in the Kazakh capital, Almaty, for talks on a resolution to the conflict. The agreement excludes groups like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (the group now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), but also, YPG, the Kurdish rebel group, which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization. It does, however, include Islamist groups Russia has previously described as terrorists. It’s unclear whether the ceasefire will pave the way for a political settlement; previous attempts at one have failed. For more on terms of the deal, go here.

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