Turkey aims to establish a ceasefire on the ground in Syria before the new year, acting with Russia as guarantor, Ankara said on Thursday. But Turkey's insistence on the departure of President Bashar al-Assad could complicate talks with Moscow, which backs him. Lucy Fielder reports.
A ceasefire in Syria before the new year. That's Turkey's aim, according to its government Thursday. Ankara and Moscow are in talks aimed at establishing a truce and will act as guarantors. One potential sticking point: Turkey, which supports the Syrian rebels, wants President Bashar al-Assad to go. Russia backs him. Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, says all foreign fighter groups in Syria, including Hezbollah, need to leave. Hezbollah's backed by Iran, another Assad ally, so that won't sit well either. Cavusoglu's comments seem to signal progress. But in the meantime, the nearly six-year war rages on. Syrian airstrikes on a rebel-held area of Damascus killing at least 40 people, a monitor said.