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Free Syrian Army to Meet Russian Defense, Foreign Ministries Next Week

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Representatives of the Free Syrian Army have agreed to meet representatives of the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries in Abu Dhabi at the end of next week.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov during an interview

Representatives of the Free Syrian Army have agreed to meet representatives of the Russian Defense and Foreign ministries in Abu Dhabi at the end of next week, one of the coordinators of the event told Sputnik.”A preliminary agreement was reached of a meeting of 28 brigades of the FSA in the suburbs of Damascus, Qunaitra, Hama and the western suburb of Homs, as well as the northern front from the suburbs of Aleppo and Idlib with the representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian  Defense Ministry most likely in Abu Dhabi at the end of the coming week,” Mahmoud Afandi,  who is also the secretary of the Popular Diplomacy Movement, said.

During the meeting, the issues of intensifying the work of a joint operative center will be discussed, he added.

“The main topic of the meeting will be intensifying the joint operative center, which was agreed on in Moscow, directed at fighting IS [Islamic State] and the Nusra Front, as well as the search for a political solution after IS is defeated,” Afandi said.

According to Afandi, the issues of the Russian side promising protection to the FSA from the Syrian Army will be discussed also, “as reconciling the FSA and the army in the foreseeable future seems unlikely.”

Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011, with the government forces fighting a number of opposition groups and radicals from organizations like the Islamic State (ISIL) and the Nusra Front.

Since the start of the war, the United States and its allies have supported what they refer to as the “moderate” Syrian opposition, in its fight against troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russia, which launched its own air operation against ISIL positions in Syria in late September upon Assad’s request, has been seeking contacts with the so-called moderate opposition to combine their efforts against Islamists.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Moscow is holding talks on a daily basis with “almost the whole spectrum” of the Syrian opposition factions as part of a reconciliation process in the country.