U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked Friday by telephone about widening international political talks on Syria to include both opposition groups and the Assad government, according to officials in Moscow.
Russia's Foreign Ministry reported in a statement that Lavrov and Kerry also discussed the multinational fight against Islamic State extremists and other militant organizations in the Middle East.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015.
Earlier this year, Russia hosted talks with the main Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, as part of a push for dialogue with the Syrian government.
The Syrian National Coalition boycotted Russia-hosted talks in February and April that failed to make progress.
Political opposition leaders and rebel commanders in Syria have been trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for four years. They say international diplomatic initiatives to end the country's civil war will fail until they establish not only that Assad must step down, but also that his inner circle of advisers and most of the country's feared intelligence services must be dismantled.