A senior Russian official says his country is trying to arrange a meeting between Syria's warring sides without preconditions.

Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov says Moscow is conducting preliminary consultations for such talks.

Bogdanov, who is Moscow's special envoy to the Middle East, spoke to journalists in Beirut on a visit to the country during which he met with the Lebanese prime minister and other officials.

Moscow is a chief ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and recently hosted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.