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This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows Syrian army soldiers marching through the streets in the Ansari neighborhood, east Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Dec 23, 2016. Syrian rebels outside Aleppo on Friday shelled a neighborhood in the northern city, killing three people in the first bombardment since government forces took control of the whole city after opposition fighters in the eastern parts withdrew, state TV reported. (SANA via AP)

Syrians weary of 6 years of civil war are optimistic this ceasefire will actually hold


In what could be a turning point in Syria's six years of war, a nationwide ceasefire appears to be holding.

Previous ceasefires, including two this year, have collapsed within weeks. But Syrians Circa spoke with say they're hopeful this latest deal will last.

"As Syrians, we don't trust the regime. They used to bomb the civilians every time there were ceasefire," Bakri Zeneldeen, an activist in Idlib, told Circa. 

But still, [this ceasefire] is a chance to save the lives.
Activist Bakri Zeneldeen

Despite his reservations, Zeneldeen cautiously welcomed the deal. 

Peace talks in Kazakhstan

The deal agreed to by the Assad regime and the opposition was brokered by Russia and Turkey on Thursday, and officially took effect Friday morning. 

If it holds, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev says his country will host a new round of peace talks. 

The United States, which was not party to the agreement, called the ceasefire a "positive development." 

This time seems hopeful. It's different.
Zouhir Al Shimale

Freelance journalist Zouhir Al Shimale told Circa via text message he was skeptical, given previous experiences, whether the various parties will stick to the terms of the ceasefire.  

I hope the ceasefire will be real and will stand.

"For now, yes," Dr. Tennari, an Idlib-based doctor said, when asked if he thought the ceasefire will hold. 

Rebels lose Aleppo stronghold

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad agreed to the ceasefire following his recent victory in Aleppo.

Earlier this month, forces opposing al-Assad's government lost control of eastern Aleppo, their last urban stronghold in the country. 

An evacuation deal allowed many of the rebels and tens of thousands of civilians to leave the city.

#شاهد إجلاء سكان حلب المحاصرة باتجاه ريف حلب الغربي 15-12-2016

WATCH  | Many fled to rebel-controlled Idlib province. U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura warned that Idlib "could be in theory the next Aleppo."

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