Former GOP rep: Putin has given Syria ‘hope’

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) says Russian President Vladimir Putin may have finally helped bring peace to Syria amid its grueling civil war.

Putin on Thursday announced a new cease-fire deal between rebel forces and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“No. 1, I think that we’ve just got to be very, very thankful that [in] the Christmas season, that finally, there is some hope,” Hoekstra told CNN’s Don Lemon on “New Day” Thursday. "There may be an actual cease-fire that will stop the fighting in Syria."

“Roughly — it’s estimated — 500,000 people may have lost their lives in the last five or six years,” added Hoekstra, who endorsed President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE before his White House win.

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“Let’s hope this cease-fire — regardless of the fact that the United States was not involved in negotiating [it] — let’s hope it holds and brings an opportunity for some relief for the people of Syria.”

Putin on Thursday said Russia and Turkey will act as guarantors for the truce in Syria, which is set to begin at midnight.

Assad’s government and the opposition forces will next take part in peace talks once the agreement takes effect.

The pact comes one week after Assad’s government claimed total recapture of Aleppo, which was once Syria’s largest city until civil war erupted there about five years ago.

Thursday’s cease-fire does not apply to terrorist groups in Syria such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.