Russian lawmakers discuss new Syria elections with Assad

MOSCOW: Russian lawmakers say Syrian President Bashar Assad is ready to hold parliamentary elections and discuss constitutional changes, and is also prepared to take part in an early presidential election, but only after the "terrorist" forces in Syria are defeated.

The Russians met with Assad in Damascus on Sunday and afterward told Russian state news agencies that they discussed the possibility of new elections.

Communist lawmaker Alexander Yushchenko told Tass that the Syrian president is ready if necessary to hold an early presidential election but only "after victory over terrorism on the territory of Syria."

The Russian parliamentary delegation's visit follows talks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry on ways to push for a political transition in Syria that would end its civil war.