Agreements regarding the fate of Syria were reached between the United States, Russia, and 17 other countries at talks held in Vienna in November. The countries called for peace talks in Syria to begin on January 1 and a ceasefire to be reached early in the year. Free elections are to be held a year later in the war-torn country.
The talks mark the first time the United States and Russia have come to an agreement on Syria, which was not invited to the Vienna meeting
The fate of Syrian President and Russian ally Bashar al-Assad has yet to be decided, but U.S Secretary John Kerry relinquished America’s longstanding demand that Assad step down when, after negotiations with Russia in December, he announced the two nations had also agreed to let the Syrian people decide on their next government.
Assad has stated that he opposes the international timetable for elections, but a close advisor to Assad said at the end of December that the regime is ready to join U.N.-sponsored peace talks now that the United States has withdrawn from its hardline, anti-Assad position.
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