Members of the domestic Syrian opposition have kicked off a meeting in the Russian capital, Moscow, in an effort aimed at settling the nearly four-year conflict in Syria.
More than 30 opposition figures, who are from a Syria-based official opposition, attended the meeting on Monday to work out common demands to present to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Reports say the representatives of the Syrian government are expected to join the meeting on Wednesday.
Majid Habbo, a senior member of the opposition National Coordination Committee, said that the participants “are trying to create an atmosphere of trust, between all sides… and with all who are trying to create a ceasefire.”
Fateh Jamous, a Syrian communist now allied with Qadri Jamil, a former government official who joined opposition ranks, said, “I think we will agree to continue talks despite the differences… [and to] agree [on] a framework for future talks.”
The negotiations would see Russian mediation between representatives from the Syrian government and domestic opposition after foreign-based oppositionists, the members of the so-called Syrian National Coalition, refused to take part in the talks.
President Assad also has 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 (UN) in the Swiss city of Geneva in February 2014. 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.