US Senator John Kerry is due to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Saturday as the new US administration reviews its policies towards such states in the Middle East. Kerry, a former presidential candidate who now chairs the Senate foreign relations committee, is following in the footsteps of another US congressional team which visited Damascus this week. Syrian support for Iran and regional Islamist militant groups, including the Shiite Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, is expected to top the agenda of Kerry's talks with Assad. "We want Syria to respect the political independence of Lebanon, we want Syria to help in the process of resolving issues with Hezbollah and with the Palestinians," Kerry said on Wednesday in Lebanon.