Expatica news

Syria opposition, Assad representatives meet in Moscow: Syrian source

Syrian opposition figures and representatives of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began talks in Moscow Wednesday aimed at restarting long-stalled peace negotiations to end the country’s brutal war.

The 32 members of various opposition groups tolerated by the authorities in Damascus and six members of the official Syrian delegation led by the ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari began their meeting at 0700 GMT, one of the opposition participants told AFP.

The Kremlin-sponsored talks were not expected to yield a major breakthrough as the main opposition group, the exiled National Coalition, has refused to attend.

The leading internationally-recognised opponents of Assad have stayed away, arguing that Russia — one of Assad’s few remaining allies — cannot be an honest broker.

The opposition source at the meeting said that those attending were putting forward a “ten-point list” aimed at defusing the nearly four years of civil war that has claimed more than 200,000 lives since 2011.

The source said that the opposition figures at the meeting would not immediately insist on establishing a transition government to ease Assad from power.

After the meeting this morning, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was set to meet the Syrian delegation.