Iran regime's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian meets with Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, Qatar December 20, 2023.

 – Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will travel to Lebanon and Syria to discuss various regional issues, Iranian and Syrian media reported on Thursday.

Iranian media said he would be in Lebanon on Friday. Syrian daily Al-Watan, which is close to the government, said Amirabdollahian would be in Damascus “early next week” for a visit with senior officials.

Al-Watan said the foreign minister would discuss current developments, including Israeli attacks on Syria and the ongoing war in Gaza, and that he would travel onwards to Qatar.

Sources told Reuters last week that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps had pulled back some of its officers from Syria following a string of Israel strikes there that had killed senior commanders.

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Iran’s ambassador to Syria Hossein Akbari said in remarks on Thursday that Iran remained “present in Syria.”

“We will not take any step without coordination with the government, and wherever the Syrian side asks us, we will be present. We are present in Syria with the same force, and we have never withdrawn,” Akbari said.

The Guards have suffered one of their most bruising spells in Syria since arriving a decade ago to aid President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. Since December, Israeli strikes have killed more than half a dozen of their members, among them one of the Guards’ top intelligence generals.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom and Firas Makdesi in Damascus;Editing by Alison Williams and Alistair Bell)

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