Vice president Faruq al-Shara opened the meeting on Sunday, saying it aims at triggering “Syria’s transition towards a multi-party democratic state,” AFP reported.

The reformed state is where “everyone will be equal and able to participate in the building of the nation’s future,” he said.

Since mid-March, Syria has been struggling with weeks of protests that have left hundreds of people dead, including members of the security forces.

The government has blamed the protests on armed gangs and foreign elements.

In early June, at least 120 Syrian forces were killed in an attack by armed groups in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour.

Shara said, “There are many obstacles, some natural and some manufactured, to a transition towards another point.”

The Syrian official urged continued talks between pro- and anti-government figures, stressing that national dialogue is the only way out of the current situation.

Some opposition figures, however, have boycotted the talks.

Independent lawmakers, who had attended the talks, meanwhile, called for the release of political prisoners and restoration of law and order in the country.

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