DAMASCUS, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- A sudden change in the international climate revived hope that a political resolution for Syria's long-standing conflict is still possible, particularly after the head of the main opposition abroad announced his acceptance for talks with representatives from the Syrian government.
The head of the main opposition coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, has repeated previous surprising statement that he is ready to embark on talks with Assad's administration while setting release of detainees among others as conditions.
His remarks came during a late-night panel talks on Friday with UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi at the Munich Security Conference on Friday.
He first declared his controversial statement on his Facebook page last Wednesday.
On Saturday, al-Khatib, for the first time, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who invited him to come to Moscow for more talks, and met with Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on the sideline of Munich conference.
Al-Khatib reportedly said that his talks with Salehi have focused on the need to politically end the crisis, as Russia's Lavrov reportedly said that al-Khatib appeared interested in having more understanding of the Russian stance.
Al-Khatib's surprising step has also been welcomed by the United States, whose Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the opposition leader's step "not only courageous but smart."
The broad-based opposition has for long rejected any dialogue with the Assad administration until the ouster of Assad himself, but the recent statement by al-Khatib did not stipulate departure of Assad as a precondition to dialogue. Al-Khatib said that the talks would be held with Syrian officials whose hands have not been smeared with Syrians' blood and have full executive powers.
The shift in al-Khatib's stance, and the super power's welcome of such new position, mirrors the international community's desire to bring the prolonged crisis to a close especially now that its effects have spilled over borders and its continuation would surely have grave repercussions in the entire region, analysts said.
Responding to al-Khatib's remarks, Minister of National Reconciliation Ali Haidar said the doors for dialogue are open to everyone desirous for a political dialogue with no exception, stressing that the basis of dialogue should be based on halting violence.
Regarding al-Khatib's condition for the release of 160,000 detainees, Haidar said the number is exaggerated and demanded the opposition send a list of names, stressing his readiness to deal with the issue.
The minister repeated the government's recent commitment to providing all facilitation to the Syrians abroad to return home and take part in the national dialogue.
Still, despite the positive shift toward a political solution, the broad-based opposition is still divided over al-Khatib's sudden "change of plan."
Samir Nashar, a leading member of the oppositional Syrian National Council, indicated that Khatib's remarks were personal, expressing astonishment over his renewed statements.
However, he highlighted that the opposition hasn't yet come to a united stance, referring to the division between al-Khatib and other broad-based opposition about talks with the Syrian regime.
Saleh Muslib, a member of the Damascus-based oppositional National Coordination Body, said "we haven't said no to the dialogue but there were conditions for the dialogue to be real and objective." He added that the violence and fighting must stop by all parties.
The recent developments followed an apparent shift in the stances of some superpowers. Recent statements made by regional and foreign leaders have buoyed the conviction that most countries, even those that have for long called for the overthrow of the Syrian government, have become increasingly concerned about the prolonged crisis in Syria and the rising danger of Islamists.
Jordan's King Abdullah, who has at the beginning of the crisis called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, said lately that whoever believes that the Syrian President will fall within weeks doesn't understand the complicated situation and the balance of forces.
He added that one of the major problems is that al-Qaida fighters have set up bases in Syria last year and they are getting funds and equipment from abroad.
He warned that the new Taliban, which the world will have to deal with, will be in Syria, adding that even if the most optimistic scenario to rid Syria of them is applied, this will take at least three years after the "fall of the Assad government. "
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also said that there were no indications that the Syrian crisis is on its way to a solution soon. "things are not moving and the solution that we had hoped for, I mean the fall of (President) Bashar al-Assad and the arrival of the coalition to power did not happen."
Moreover, western diplomats said that a Russian-U.S. summit will convene soon to discuss "principles of the solution" of the Syrian crisis in accordance with the Geneva Statement, which Syria has previously agreed on.
The rock-solid support of Russia and Iran to Syria has likely undermined expectations of an imminent collapse of the Syrian government and forced Syria's foes to reconsider their positions and move closer to a political solution.
Iran, Syria's main ally in the region, warned that any attack on Syria will be considered as an attack on its own territory.
Eli Ferzli, a Lebanese political expert, said the Israeli airstrike was aimed to boost the morale of the rebels after the Syrian army's advancement on several fronts, stressing that the political solution is connected with what is happening on ground and the military advancement of each party that could empower the stances of the negotiators on the dialogue table.
Syria, on a daily basis, reports the killing of scores of whom it called "terrorists" affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra, or al- Nusra Front, which has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings in the country and revealed its intention to establish an Islamic Emirate in Syria.
On Sunday, the pro-government al-Watan newspaper said that the Syrian army is preparing for a wide-scale showdown in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, adding that the operation will start from the Haran al-Awamid area near the international airport of Damascus.