Iran FM: Efforts Underway to Settle Idlib Conflict with ‘Least Humanitarian Cost’

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said efforts are underway to flush terrorists out of Syria’s Idlib with the least humanitarian cost.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the Iranian minister said he held "very good" talks with senior Syrian authorities in Damascus, Press TV reported.

In a one-day visit to Damascus on Monday, Zarif had held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other top officials amid the Syrian army’s preparation for attacking Idlib, the last stronghold of terrorists in the north.

In comments after arriving in Damascus, Zarif underlined that Idlib must be cleansed of the remnants of terrorist groups and the terrorist-held region should return to Syrians.

Elsewhere in his Tuesday remarks, Zarif pointed to his last week talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul as well as a planned summit of Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents in Tehran, saying efforts would go on to "prevent any damage to the Syrian people and complete the process of clearing extremists."

Asked about US President Donald Trump’s warning that an attack on Idlib would be a “humanitarian mistake” for Tehran and Moscow, Zarif said Trump seeks to take advantage of the situation in Idlib for his own foreign policy goals.

"The Americans have not shown a good record of their fight against extremism and terrorism," the top Iranian diplomat said.

On Tuesday, Russia also strongly dismissed Trump’s warning, stressing that the northwestern region of Syria is a “nest of terrorism.”

Since the outbreak of war and foreign militancy in Syria in 2011, Iran has stood by the Syrian government and supported its people against terrorist groups, including Daesh (ISIL).

In recent months, the Syrian army has managed to liberate many of the areas occupied by terrorists and is preparing to launch an attack to recapture the northern city of Idlib.

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