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Syrian Opposition Leader: Russia 'Isn't Clinging To Assad'

The leader of the main Syrian opposition group says that Russia is not committed to keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power.

Syrian National Coalition President Khaled Khoja was speaking in Moscow on August 14 a day after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Khoja said that "the Russian leadership isn't clinging" to Assad but is focusing on the need to preserve Syria's territorial integrity and prevent its collapse.

Commentators say it isn't clear whether Khoja's statement signaled a shift in Russia's stance, or merely reflected Moscow's attempt to rally support for its new push to help mediate the Syrian conflict.

Moscow has been a key backer of Assad throughout the conflict lasting more than four years.

Based on reporting by AP