In this Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 photo, Syrian army soldiers patrol the east Aleppo neighborhood of Tariq al-Bab, Syria. As the battle for Aleppo winds down after more than four years of brutal street fighting and punishing aerial bombardments, the staggering extent of destruction begins to emerge: Tens of thousands of homes and apartments have been rendered uninhabitable, most factories have been looted or destroyed and some ancient landmarks have been reduced to rubble. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

A cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey went into effect in war-ravaged Syria at midnight Thursday, a potential breakthrough in the six years of fighting that have left more than a quarter-million people dead and triggered a refugee crisis across Europe, and, if it holds, will be followed by peace negotiations in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana within one month.

The Syrian army announced a nationwide halt to fighting, but said ISIS and ex-Nusra Front militants and all groups linked to them would be excluded from the deal. It did not say which unnamed groups would be excluded.


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