Syria's top opposition leader says after talks in Moscow that "Russia isn't clinging to Assad"

The leader of the main Syrian opposition group says after talks in Moscow that Russia isn't committed keeping Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

Speaking a day after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Syrian National Coalition president Khaled Khoja said Friday that "the Russian leadership isn't clinging to Bashar Assad" and is focusing on the need to preserve Syria's territorial integrity and prevent its collapse.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Khoja's statement signaled a shift in Russia's stance, or merely reflected Moscow's attempt to rally support for its new push to help mediate the Syrian conflict.

Lavrov's meeting with his Saudi counterpart earlier this week highlighted continuing sharp differences about Assad's fate. Moscow has been a key backer of Assad throughout the conflict lasting more than four years.