- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2013

Through his foreign ministry, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his government is open to sitting down and discussing peace with members of the armed opposition force.

The statement came via Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, who was in Moscow on Monday, for a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, according to a report by the Voice of America.

Mr. Lavrov, according to various media reports, said last week that continued fighting in Syria would lead to a “mutual destruction” of government and rebel forces.

The statements came a day after opposition fighters reported government forces attacking the rebel strongholds of Damascus and Aleppo.

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