Syria tripartite summit 'step to peace': Iran


U.S. President Donald Trump has warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Iran and Russian Federation not to "recklessly attack" Syria's last opposition-held province, Idlib, warning that hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.

Days after visiting Turkey, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Damascus Monday as part of a shuttle diplomacy to resolve the situation in Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.

Mr Trump said the Syrian government and its allies Russian Federation and Iran "would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy".

Expressing concern that hundreds of thousands of lives might be at risk in the Syrian Army's looming operations to clear the Idlib province of militants, Trump cautioned Damascus, as well as Moscow and Iran, against "making a grave humanitarian mistake". "Don't let that happen!" he tweeted.

"By backing an all-out offensive, Russian Federation risks undermining its long-term political objectives in Syria", ICG wrote in a nine-page briefing.

"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", Mr Zarif said.

Government forces are amassing at the border with Idlib province, while Russian Federation revealed last week it had positioned more than a dozen ships off the Syrian coast, raising fears of a wide-scale offensive that could mark the last major battle in the seven-year civil war.

The official in the regional pro-Assad alliance had said the blasts were caused by Israeli missile fire from across the Golan Heights frontier between the two countries and by Syrian air defenses responding.

It accuses rebels in Idlib of attacking Hmeimim with weaponised drones and insists jihadists in the province must be eliminated.

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Iran, Russia, and Syria often describe all their armed opponents as "terrorists".

A coalition spokesman told AFP the Al-Tanf base "received fire from unknown forces, with no damage and the coalition forces did not fire back".

In a statement confirming the date of 7 September, which was previously reported by Turkish media, the Kremlin announced that Vladimir Putin will arrive for a "working visit to Iran" for negotiations.

He also planned to meet with envoys from Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States on September 14 to brief them on his efforts to launch a political process and help set up a committee that could revise Syria's constitution.

The airport houses Syrian Air Force intelligence, and in early 2017 the Syrian regime accused neighbouring Israel of bombing the base.

There are now some three million people in the province, according to United Nations estimates.

Some reports suggested that there had been three explosions, targeting a research center in Jamraya, near Damascus, and a military depot, which suffered a direct hit.

The Kremlin waved off Mr Trump's warning on Tuesday, calling the enclave a "nest of terrorism".

Syrian government forces are now massing around the northwestern province in preparation for the assault.