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Jordan said on Wednesday it was willing to hand over an Iraqi woman detained for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman if a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State was released. "Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh was released and his life spared," Mohammad al-Momani, a government spokesman, was quoted on state television as saying. He did not make any reference to Japanese hostage Kenji Goto who said in a video on Tuesday that Islamic State had given Jordan 24 hours to release the Iraqi militant or the pilot would be killed. Momani said Jordan's priority was to secure the release of the pilot, who hails from a Jordanian tribe that forms the backbone of support for the Hashemite monarchy.
Syrian opposition figures and representatives of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began talks in Moscow Wednesday but there was little hope that they would make a breakthrough in ending the country's brutal war. The talks between opposition groups tolerated by Damascus and a Syrian delegation led by ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari came as Kurdish forces battled the Islamic State group around Kobane, after expelling them from the strategic town on the Turkish border. The rise of Islamic State -- which was threatening Wednesday to execute a Japanese hostage and a captured Jordanian airforce pilot -- has changed the West's approach to Syria and spurred hope that the warring sides might find common ground in the face of a mutual foe.