Iran FM says 'terrorists must be purged' from Syria's Idlib

Trump warns Syria against attack on rebel stronghold

Syrian government forces are planning a phased offensive in Idlib and surrounding areas held by rebels fighting Assad, a close Russian ally who has also been backed by Iranian forces in the country's civil war.

Trump's tweet came shortly after Iran's foreign minister said "terrorists must be purged" from Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in the country.

"All of Syrian territory must be preserved and all the sects and groups should start the round of reconstruction as one collective and the displaced should return to their families", Zarif said, according to Fars News.

Zarif said it was necessary to consult "with our Syrian friends" ahead of the September 7 summit, according to Fars.

Despite a 55-km deconfliction zone around the base, Al-Tanf is seen as a potential flashpoint between United States and Iranian or Tehran-backed forces.

Assad's forces, backed by military support from Russian Federation and Iran, have recaptured major cities in recent years, often involving agreements with both opposition fighters and civilians that allowed them to flee to Idlib.

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

Expressing his concern that hundreds of thousands of lives might be at risk during 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".

Pope Francis on Sunday, September 2, warned of a "human catastrophe" in the Syria's Idlib province, the last major rebel bastion which is being shelled by government forces.

The visit comes days before the leaders of Iran, Turkey, and Russian Federation are expected to meet in Iran to discuss the situation in Idlib.

Eleven more loyalists to Bashar al-Assad - four Syrians and seven non-Syrians - were injured, reported the Observatory citing reliable sources. Israel has grown nervous of Iran's growing presence in Syria and threatened to prevent a build-up of pro-Iranian forces near its frontiers with Syria.

The U.S. and France have warned an Idlib offensive would trigger a humanitarian crisis and warned that a chemical attack in Idlib would prompt a western retaliation.

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