Stepped-up rebel shelling and government airstrikes came just a few hours before Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Damascus, where he discussed a four-point proposal Iran wants to offer to the United Nations as a way out of Syria's grinding conflict.
That plan, according to a Lebanese politician familiar with the proposal, includes a cease-fire and a power-sharing government that would keep Assad in the picture, at least for now, pending internationally supervised elections.
According to a Syria's state news agency Zarif stressed that any solution for the crisis should be 'far from any foreign intervention and in a way that preserves the country's territorial unity' and independence.
Tehran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers is widely seen as providing an opportunity for achieving some kind of breakthrough on Syria.
The deal has opened diplomatic channels between Saudi Arabia and Assad's Iran-backed government, although the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, denied on Tuesday his country was wavering in its position that Assad should have no future role in Syria.


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