Europe

Turkey says Lebanon's Hezbollah should leave Syria

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Putin is ordering to scale down the Russian military presence in Syria. Putin made the statement Thursday while declaring that a cease-fire in Syria brokered by Russia and Turkey will start at midnight. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Putin is ordering to scale down the Russian military presence in Syria. Putin made the statement Thursday while declaring that a cease-fire in Syria brokered by Russia and Turkey will start at midnight. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Osama Abu Zeid of the main moderate Syrian opposition group Free Syrian Army, talks about the five-point cease-fire agreement for Syria, during a news conference, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Abu Zeid said that his group, is one of the 13 armed opposition factions, that had agreed to abide by the nationwide cease-fire agreement that will go into effect at midnight Thursday. The truce will be followed by peace talks in Kazakhstan to find a solution for Syria's crisis, Abu Zeid said. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

    Osama Abu Zeid of the main moderate Syrian opposition group Free Syrian Army, talks about the five-point cease-fire agreement for Syria, during a news conference, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Abu Zeid said that his group, is one of the 13 armed opposition factions, that had agreed to abide by the nationwide cease-fire agreement that will go into effect at midnight Thursday. The truce will be followed by peace talks in Kazakhstan to find a solution for Syria's crisis, Abu Zeid said. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)  (The Associated Press)

  • Osama Abu Zeid of the the main moderate Syrian opposition group Free Syrian Army, shows what he said is a copy of the five-point cease-fire agreement for Syria, during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Abu Zeid said that his group, one of the 13 armed opposition factions, had agreed to abide by the nationwide cease-fire agreement that will go into effect at midnight Thursday. The truce will be followed by peace talks in Kazakhstan that will focus on finding a solution for Syria's crisis, Abu Zeid said. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

    Osama Abu Zeid of the the main moderate Syrian opposition group Free Syrian Army, shows what he said is a copy of the five-point cease-fire agreement for Syria, during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Abu Zeid said that his group, one of the 13 armed opposition factions, had agreed to abide by the nationwide cease-fire agreement that will go into effect at midnight Thursday. The truce will be followed by peace talks in Kazakhstan that will focus on finding a solution for Syria's crisis, Abu Zeid said. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)  (The Associated Press)

Turkey says Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group should withdraw from Syria and a nationwide cease-fire should come into effect before the end of the year.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to back President Bashar Assad's forces.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with the Turkish A Haber news channel on Thursday that Ankara and Moscow are close to reaching an agreement on a nationwide cease-fire. Turkey would serve as guarantor of rebel compliance, while Russia would guarantee adherence by the government.

He says Iran stated during talks earlier this month in Moscow that it will act as a guarantor for the Syrian government as well as allied Shiite groups, including Hezbollah.