Regime-tolerated Syria opposition to travel to Moscow
A delegation of Syrian dissidents tolerated by President Bashar al-Assad's regime will travel to Russia this week for meetings with officials, days after government members discussed a new peace process there.
Damascus: A delegation of Syrian dissidents tolerated by President Bashar al-Assad's regime will travel to Russia this week for meetings with officials, days after government members discussed a new peace process there.
The meeting with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov would include talks "on a political solution, the role of Syria-based opponents and (UN envoy) Staffan De Mistura's initiative," said delegation member Maher Merhej.
The eight-member delegation is to leave on Sunday afternoon for Moscow, and return on December 15.
Merhej, who heads the Syrian National Youth movement, has been working together with the leaders of three other minor movements since November 2012.
Civil society activist Souheir Sarmini is also to travel to Moscow, alongside three MPs, including leading Baath party member Faisal Azzuz, tribal representative Nawaf al-Melhem, and independent politician Hussein Ragheb.
News of their journey came as Bogdanov met in Beirut with Hassan Abdel Azim and two other members of the main regime-tolerated National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.
Bogdanov said Friday he was in contact with both the Syrian government and the tolerated and exiled opposition.
In November, a delegation of military and political rebels headed by key opposition figure Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib travelled to Moscow.
His delegation was followed by a visit by Syrian regime officials, among them Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
No date has yet been announced for the start of a possible new peace process that Moscow is preparing.
Syria's war has killed more than 200,000 people and forced half the population to flee their homes.
The war began as a pro-democracy movement that evolved into a brutal civil war after Assad's regime unleashed a brutal crackdown against dissent.