Syrian President Bashar Assad said his country is prepared for any war that may break out with Israel, adding that he is convinced that the chances for peace have decreased and that “the Golan Heights will be liberated by Syria.”
In a special interview with Egyptian newspaper Al-Osboa, Assad said “if Israel launches a war against Syria, it will pay a heavy price.”
He said Syria has been following Israel closely, particularly after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came to power.
“The fact that he was elected by such a large majority attests to the fact that the Israeli nation does not want peace,” Assad said.
“Syria and the resistance (referring to Hizbullah) read the situation correctly in that we predicted the confrontation. There have been extensive preparations for the current battle. Our disagreement focused on the nature of the resistance. There were those who thought the resistance didn’t stand a chance in a time when satellites reveal everything, track everything down and can direct severe blows at the resistance, but the reality proved otherwise.
“In Lebanon they (Israel) destroyed everything, but they were unable to achieve their true military objectives on the ground; the resistance has won the war, and now we must win the diplomatic battle as well.”
'New phase in Arab history'
Referring to the international community’s intervention in the conflict, President Assad said “they intervene only when Israel is in pain; but when the Lebanese, Palestinians and others suffer – no one intervenes.”
Assad took the opportunity to praise Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, describing him as “a unique commander in the history of the noble Lebanese resistance’; he also lauded Hizbullah TV station Al-Manar, saying it was the first time that the Arab media ‘defeated’ the enemy’s.
“The US and Israeli intelligence agencies are unaware of the resistance’s real capabilities,” he said, adding that he had rejected “lucrative offers” presented to him on condition that he abandon Hizbullah and Hamas.
Assad said “there were those who believed that peace (with Israel) was the only option and they attempted to enforce it upon the Arab nation, but the resistance’s firm stand and the change we see in the Arab world, due to which we can see millions of youngsters waving the Hizbullah and resistance flags, have proven that this nation is on the brink of a new phase in its history.”
Ali Waked contributed to the report