Tehran: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem was to visit Tehran on Sunday for talks with Iranian officials, the Iranian foreign ministry said in a short statement.

The trip was not previously announced. It comes as Syrian troops battle rebels in second city Aleppo in an offensive that world powers fear could result in heavy civilian casualties and spark a humanitarian disaster.

Iran's foreign ministry said Muallem would meet Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and they would give a joint news conference around 0930 GMT.

The Mehr news agency reported that Muallem would see various Iranian officials.

Iran's Young Journalists Club said, without giving a source for its information, that one of those officials would be the head of Iran's supreme national security council, Saeed Jalili, who is close to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran has long been Syria's closest Middle East ally.


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