Russian FM hosts Syria's main opposition group for talks

AP News
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Posted: Aug 13, 2015 10:26 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister is meeting with a delegation of the main Syrian opposition group, part of the Kremlin's new push for a mediation role in the Syrian conflict.

Sergey Lavrov held talks Thursday with the leadership of the Syrian National Coalition, which had previously refused to visit Russia.

Moscow has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the conflict that has dragged on for more than four years, leaving at least 250,000 dead and turning more than 4 million people into refugees.

President Vladimir Putin launched Russia's new mediation effort in June, meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in St. Petersburg.

Earlier this week, Lavrov met with his Saudi counterpart for Syria-focused talks that reflected continuing sharp differences about Assad's fate.