Syria's western-backed opposition elects new leader as peace efforts continue

Syria's western-backed opposition group has elected a new leader.

Khaled Khoja was elected president in a close vote late Sunday night during a three day meeting of the National Coalition in Istanbul, where it is based.

The coalition is seen as remote from the military opposition fighting the government of Bashar al Assad. But it is involved in talks with international negotiators looking for ways to end the civil war that has left more than 200,000 dead.

Khoja replaces Hadi al Bahra, who did not run for re-election.

The meeting comes amid a push by Russia, a key supporter of Assad, to try to bring the Syrian government and the opposition together in Moscow for talks. The coalition has not ruled out participating, but has so far insisted on conditions.