Russia invites Syria’s oppositionists to talks in Moscow

Russia has invited Syria’s opposition figures to talks in the capital, Moscow, in an effort aimed at settling the nearly four-year conflict in the Middle Eastern country.

A total of 28 opposition figures, including members of both domestic opposition groups and foreign-based ones, have been invited to the talks.

Hassan Abdel Aazim, Aref Dailia and Fateh Jamousand are among the invitees from domestic opposition groups; and the head of the so-called Syrian National Coalition, Hadi al-Bahra, and former Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil are among the foreign-based ones.

The talks, scheduled for later this month, would see Russian mediation between representatives from the Syrian government and opposition.

The opposition groups have not yet decided on attending the meeting. The issue will be discussed during a three-day meeting that starts in Turkey on Friday.

Damascus, however, has expressed readiness to attend the talks, with an unnamed Syrian Foreign Ministry official saying that participation in the meeting would be aimed at “fulfilling Syrians’ aspirations to reach a way out of the crisis.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has also voiced support for Russia’s efforts to broker peace in his country.

The last round of the talks between a Syrian government delegation and the opposition were mediated by the United Nations in the Swiss city of Geneva in February last year. The talks came to an end without any tangible results.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, according to the UN.