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Iranian FM Visits Damascus Ahead of Tehran Summit

Iranian FM Visits Damascus Ahead of Tehran Summit

Tuesday, 4 September, 2018 - 09:15
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif smiles as he attends a bilateral meeting with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore, August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Feline Lim -/File Photo
London, Damascus - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Syria to discuss plans for an upcoming summit on Idlib between the leaders of Iran, Russia, and Turkey, which Tehran will host on September 7.

Zarif arrived Monday on a surprise visit to Damascus where he met with head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad. Following the meeting, Assad’s office said in a statement on Telegram: “The two sides asserted that the pressures from some Western states on Syria and Tehran will not deter the two countries from continuing to defend their principles.”

For his part, Zarif said: “All of the Syrian territories must be preserved and all the sects and groups should start the round of reconstruction as one collective and the displaced should return to their families,” Fars News reported.

“And the remaining terrorists in the remaining parts of Idlib must be cleaned out and the region should be placed back under the control of the Syrian people,” he added.

Referring to the trilateral meeting, Zarif said to IRNA that the trio will discuss how to deal with extremists and terrorists, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. He added that the political procedures to counter the terrorists in Syria will be discussed too.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham lays its hands on the greatest part of Idlib, while other factions are present in the rest of the regions, and the regime’s forces are in the southeast countryside.

“After the victory of the Resistance Front against extremist and terrorist groups, it is high time that Syria was reconstructed, and strategic allies of the country should be part of that," Zarif told reporters.

His visit comes one week after Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami went to Damascus where a military cooperation agreement was signed.

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