Russia open to hard-liners attending Syria peace talks

Russia said Tuesday it supports the inclusion of all opposition parties in Syrian peace talks, including representatives of two hard-line Islamic groups, as President Bashar Assad’s troops captured a village north of Syria’s largest city with the aid of Russian airstrikes.


Syria’s official SANA news agency reported the capture of Hardatneen, north of Aleppo, as U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura kicked off what he called a second day of peace talks in Geneva by hosting a government delegation for the second time since Friday. He also planned a separate meeting with the main opposition group later in the day.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, whose country has been a pivotal player along with the U.S. in helping bring about the talks, told reporters in Abu Dhabi that Russia believes all opposition parties in Syria except for the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front should take part in the negotiations.


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