President Bashar Assad
arrived in Tehran, Iran
in a surprise visit on Tuesday evening, al-Nahar news reported. The report has not been confirmed by any reliable source.
According to the Iranian state television, a source in the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Assad's plane landed in Tehran's Khomeini Airport accompanied by several Syrian government officials and several members of his family. The report was unconfirmed by other sources.
Earlier on Tuesday, a top UN official visiting Iran has urged it to use its influence to persuade the Syrian government to attend planned peace talks with opposition groups in Geneva,
the United Nations said.
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has spent the past two days in Tehran meeting officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, to discuss trying to reach a political solution in Syria.
"Mr Feltman shared the UN position that Iran, given its influence and leadership in the region, has an important role to play and a responsibility in helping to bring the Syrian parties to the negotiating table," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Russia and the United States have been trying since May to organize an international peace conference to bring an end to two years of violence in Syria in which more than 100,000 people have died. Hopes are fading that the conference can take place any time soon.
Feltman discussed with Iranian officials "the worsening situation on the ground in Syria, including the UN's grave concerns about the potential use of chemical weapons and how the UN can work together with Iran and other states to end the bloodshed and suffering of the Syrian people," Haq said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talked on the phone with US State Secretary John Kerry
and discussed the Syrian crisis with him, Russian news agency Novosti reported.
In the talk, held per the US's request, Kerry accused the Assad regime of using chemical weapons in Syria. "Lavrov rejected the claims and cited relevant Russian arguments," the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement read.
Reuters contributed to this report
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