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Trump warns Assad, Russia, Iran over Syria's Idlib

Explosions at a Syrian military airport close to Damascus

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian government officials, the privately owned Tasnim news agency reported.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is expected to launch a new offensive in the country's north-west.

Iranian media quoted Zarif saying Idlib should be put back under control of the Syrian people, and that reconstruction efforts in Syria and the return of refugees should go forward.

During their meeting Assad and Zarif discussed the agenda of the summit in Iran.

Assad's office said in a statement: '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'. It provided no further details.

Iranian forces have backed Bashar Assad in Syria's civil war.

Syrian regime forces have gathered around the last opposition bastion in the northwestern province of Idlib near the Turkish border. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.

United Nations officials believe an offensive on Idlib would trigger a wave of displacement that could uproot an estimated 800,000 people and discourage refugees from returning home.

Thousands of government troops have been surrounding the area, preparing for what appears to be a major assault.

Earlier on Monday, Iran called for militants to be "cleaned out" of Idlib, as it prepared for talks with Syria and Russian Federation about confronting the last major enclave held by rebels opposed to Assad.

There has been a hike in Israeli airstrikes against Syria since the collapse of the Daesh terror group a year ago, an event that significantly demoralized other Takfiri militant groups operating against Damascus.

It also said talks were under way to establish a humanitarian corridor for civilians to leave Idlib.

The President's warning comes just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a similar warning to Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, saying an attack on Idlib was something that Syria and Russian Federation "agreed not to permit", and that the USA "sees this as an escalation of an already risky conflict".

In May, Israel said it had attacked Iranian military infrastructure in Syria following what it said was an Iranian rocket attack on Israeli-held territory.