Iran’s foreign minister says at the start of a visit to Damascus that “terrorists must be purged” from Syria’s Idlib and the entire northwestern province returned to government control.
Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments in Damascus are reported by the semi-official Fars news agency and come as Syrian forces and their allies are preparing for an assault on Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in the country.
“Syria’s territorial integrity should be safeguarded and all tribes and groups, as one society, should start the reconstruction process, and the refugees should return to their homes,” Zarif says.
He is meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who is just back from a visit to Moscow, and was to meet later with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The visit comes days before the leaders of Iran, Turkey, and Russia are expected to meet in Iran to discuss the situation in Idlib.
Zarif says it was necessary to consult “with our Syrian friends” ahead of the September 7 summit, according to Fars.