Syrian Islamist insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham said on Wednesday it had been in talks with an Iranian delegation regarding the Syrian city of Zabadani but that the discussions had been halted.

Any such talks between the conservative Sunni Islamist group and Shi’ite Iran would be highly unusual. Iran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters fighting on the ground in Syria’s four-year-old insurgency.

The statement said Ahrar al-Sham had objected to what it called Iran’s “determination” to empty Zabadani of civilians and fighters. Syrian government and Hezbollah forces have been attacking rebel-held Zabadini. […]