Iran to keep military advisors in Syria: spokesman

Syria file

After an all-out military offensive-accompanied by a complex patchwork of ceasefire agreements-ended hostilities in the country's south in July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian media that "now, Idlib is [the] goal".

Meanwhile, Tehran based Press TV reports from Beirut that Sheikh Naim Qassem, Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah has said that United States, whose pro-terror policies have faced defeat in Syria, is in no position to call for the withdrawal of Iranian advisors and allied Lebanese resistance fighters, who have emerged as "victors" of the war against terrorists in Syria. "Don't let that happen!" he added.

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.

Idlib and the surrounding area is home to some 3 million people - almost half of them already displaced a few times by the civil war - choosing to live in opposition areas.

The leaders of Iran, Turkey, and Russian Federation are expected to meet on 7 September in Iran to discuss the situation.

Elsewhere in Syria, at least eight people were killed in airstrikes in the northern Idlib province, where Syria's rebels are holed up in their last major bastion.

Syrian troops are supported military by their Russian and Iranian allies, Tehran-backed Hezbollah fighters as well as Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan militiamen.

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Four Syrians, one Iranian national and three other non-Syrian fighters were killed in the strike carried out on Saturday, the Britain-based war monitor said.

The Iranian foreign minister further welcomed the decision to stage the Rebuild Syria Exhibition later in October and described it as a sign of "strong determination" to reconstruct the war-torn country.

On Monday afternoon, he met Assad to discuss "issues on the agenda for the tripartite meeting", according to the Syrian presidency's account on the Telegram messaging app.

An air strike near a USA base in southeastern Syria has killed at least eight pro-government fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday.

The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected President Donald Trump's warning that an attack on the last major enclave of Syrian rebels would be a "grave humanitarian mistake", saying the Idlib rebels are hindering efforts at a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Asked about the possibility of Israel hitting Iranian military positions in "Iraq or Tehran", Lieberman said: "We do not limit ourselves to Syrian territory alone".

The Syrian president and Iranian foreign minister hailed the current level of relations between the two countries in various fields and agreed to further continue consultations and coordination, particularly in the light of the rapidly-shifting regional and global issues.

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