TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A senior Iranian diplomat held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Saturday.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari met with President Assad on Saturday morning ahead of a fresh round of Syria peace negotiations in the Russian resort city of Sochi scheduled to be held on January 29.  

The Sochi meeting is part of a broader push by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara to start hammering out a path to a political solution to end the conflict.

Moscow initially hoped to convene peace talks in Sochi last November but those efforts collapsed following a lack of agreement among co-sponsors.

Separate UN-backed talks began in Vienna on Thursday, to continue until Friday.

The two sides also discussed the latest developments in Syria, particularly the Turkish army’s latest movements in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin region.

Recently, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey will launch an attack on Afrin, which is controlled by the YPG, “in the coming days” in a bid to “purge terror” from his country’s southern border.

The announcement came after the US said it will work, along with a coalition of its allies purportedly fighting the Daesh terrorist group, with US-backed militants of the the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong “border security” force.