Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has once again warned that the Middle East is increasingly moving toward regional hostilities.
Assad said on Sunday that the “real peace spectrum in the region is moving away and the prospects of war and confrontation are increasing,” DPA reported.
Speaking on 65th anniversary of the Syrian military’s establishment, Assad said Damascus would stand by its claim to the Golan Heights, which has been under Israeli occupation since Tel Aviv’s full-scale offensives against the Arab territories in 1967.
“Syria reiterates its willingness [for a] just peace,” he said, adding that the “first factor of peace is preserving dignity, sovereignty and not abandoning any bit of soil or drop of water.”
The Syrian president had warned earlier last month about the growing likelihood of armed regional standoffs, citing the current tension between Israel and Turkey.
“[If] relations between Israel and Turkey are not renewed, it will be very difficult for Turkey to continue its role in the [peace] negotiations,” he had said.
In 2008, Turkey mediated four rounds of indirect talks between Damascus and Tel Aviv. The talks stalled following Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 war on the Gaza Strip, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead and inflicted more than USD 1.6 billion in damage on the Gazan economy.
Ankara’s relations with Tel Aviv hit an all-time low after the attack on the Turkey-backed Freedom Flotilla aid convoy in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31.
The commando assault on the mission, which intended to break Israel’s over three-year-long siege of Gaza left nine Turkish activists dead onboard the lead Turkish vessel, Mavi Marmara.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have insisted that the regime will not apologize for the bloodshed, as Turkey demands.