Russia invites Syrian opposition coalition to Moscow

2015-08-06 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  Russia has invited the main Syrian opposition group to Moscow as part of international efforts to end the civil war that has killed more than 250,000 people. The invitation also comes as Croatia is anxiously awaiting news of a kidnapped citizen threatened with death by the so-called Islamic State.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report:

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in published remarks that it had invited the Syrian National Coalition group to visit Moscow next week. Russian media quoted Coalition leader Badr Jamus as saying the group welcomed the invitation. 

The Coalition had refused to visit Russia amid anger over Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in an ongoing war that killed more than a quarter of a million people and displaced many more.

Yet, two previous rounds of talks between Syrian government and opposition groups hosted by Russia this year ended without visible progress.

Qatar talks

Moscow's latest move follows talks in Quatar between Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a former Syrian opposition leader. Lavrov also spoke with Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on how to combat militants of the so-called Islamic State. 

In one of the latest known incidents, an Islamic State group affiliate has released a video threatening to kill a Croatian hostage if Egypt does not release "Muslim women" held in prison within 48 hours.

The man wearing a yellow jumpsuit is seen kneeling in the desert before a knife wielding masked man. He identifies himself as Tomislav Salopek, a 30-year-old father of two.

Salopek was apparently kidnapped on July 22 while on his way to work, a French company active in Egyp's oil and natural gas sector.

(from Vatican Radio)