The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group has begun a three-day meeting to discuss a range of issues, including a Russian initiative to hold peace talks in Moscow to broker a resolution to Syria's civil war.

The Syrian National Coalition is also expected to elect a new president during the closed-door proceedings that opened Friday in Istanbul.

Russian diplomats have been meeting with the Syrian government and the Coalition to try to arrange talks without preconditions.

The Coalition has not ruled out participating, but has so far insisted that any negotiated settlement be based on the so-called Geneva platform, which states that there should be a political transition toward democracy through the formation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers.

The Syrian government has said it's ready to attend.