A nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government forces and rebel groups has come into effect which has been brokered by Russia and Turkey. Both the sides will act as guarantors.
The deal includes a large number of rebel groups but not terrorists such as Islamic State, or the Kurdish YPG.
If the ceasefire holds, peace talks are scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan within a month.
At least three lakh people are believed to have been killed in fighting that followed the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. A further four million have sought refuge in neighbouring states or Europe.
The diplomatic noises are encouraging, and even the rebel groups involved have suggested it could succeed. However, previous ceasefire initiatives this year brokered by the UN, or the US acting with Russia, quickly collapsed.
The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had spoken to Bashar al-Assad and that the Syrian leader had said he was committed to implementing the agreement.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said that there was a real chance to reach a political settlement to end the bloodshed and establish the future of the country.
Meanwhile, the UN's Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura praised a nationwide ceasefire deal and voiced hope it would help aid reach civilians across the war-ravaged country.
The Special Envoy de Mistura's office said in a statement in Geneva that the Special Envoy welcomes the announcement of a nationwide ceasefire between the government and armed opposition groups.
“The UN envoy also hopes that the deal, brokered by Russia and Turkey, will save civilian lives, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance across Syria, and pave the way for productive talks in Astana,” the statement added.