Syrian opposition urges Russia to step up efforts to settle conflict

Syrian opposition leader Ammar Qurabi urged Moscow to play a more active part in resolving civil strife in the Middle East nation.

“Russia must play a more active and positive role in settling the domestic conflict in Syria,” Qurabi, a prominent human rights activist, said during a press conference in Moscow.

Qurabi is in Russia as part of a delegation of Syrian opposition activists invited by Russian non-governmental organizations. Delegation members in turn invited Federation Council members to visit Syria.

More than 2,200 people have been killed in the crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March, according to UN estimates.

Qurabi said the opposition has always called for dialogue with the power, in contrast to the government, which relies entirely on force.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, during a meeting with his French counterpart Alain Juppe in Moscow, that international support for the Syrian opposition could lead to “new bloodshed” in the country. He said the refusal of the Syrian opposition to hold talks with the government meant they were seeking international backing similar to that received by rebel forces in Libya.

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