Syria's rival sides end Moscow talks, no sign of progress

Syria's rival sides end Moscow talks, no sign of progress
Former Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, who joined the Syrian opposition.

MOSCOW - Talks between representatives of the Syrian government and some members of the opposition have ended in Moscow with no sign of a significant breakthrough.

The second such talks in Moscow this year were marred by friction among President Bashar al-Assad's critics, and were not attended by the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition.

Qadri Jamil, a former Syrian government official who has joined the opposition ranks, told a news conference the two delegations agreed on the need for a political transition based on a document reached at international talks in Geneva in 2012.

But another representative of the opposition side, Samir Aita, said that was not the case.

The two often disagreed and interrupted one another during the news conference.

"Despite all the casualties in Syria, it seems Bashar al-Assad still does not understand what a political solution is. I think the Syrian regime missed a chance to move towards a political solution," Aita said.

Randa Kassis, also an opposition delegate, blamed rifts in the opposition ranks for the lack of progress and suggested Kazakhstan could host a meeting of Assad's foes to work out common approaches.

More than 220,00 people have been killed in four years of fighting in Syria in which radical Islamists have steadily gained the upper hand, with Islamic State now controlling large swathes of the country and neighbouring Iraq.

The Syrian National Coalition shunned the meeting after saying it would only sit down to talks leading to Assad's exit.

Russia is a long-standing ally of Assad. A first round of talks in Moscow in January were largely inconclusive.

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