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MIDEAST > Al-Assad says 'pressure' to open Israel Golan front

BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse

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Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) gestures during an interview with al-Manar TV in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, on May 30. REUTERS/SANA/Handout

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) gestures during an interview with al-Manar TV in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, on May 30. REUTERS/SANA/Handout

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on May 30 there was "popular pressure" to open a military front against Israel on the Golan Heights, which the Jewish state has occupied since 1967.

"There is clear popular pressure to open a new front of resistance in the Golan," al-Assad said in an interview with al-Manar, the television channel of his ally, Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement.

"There are several factors, including repeated Israeli aggression," he said, referring to reported Israeli air strikes on Syria.

"We have informed all the parties who have contacted us that we will respond to any Israeli aggression next time," he said.

Al-Assad also told the Lebanese television that he will run in the leadership election scheduled for 2014 if the Syrian people want him to contest the polls.

"This question will be decided at the given moment... If I feel there is any need for my candidacy, and that will be decided after consulting the people, and if I feel they want my candidacy, I will not hesitate to stand," the embattled leader said. "But if I feel that the Syrian people does not want it... I will not stand," he added.

Urge referandum in case of agreement

Al-Assad said that any agreement between his regime and the opposition at the proposed Geneva-2 conference backed by Washington and Moscow would be subject to a "referendum".

"They say they want a transitional government where the president has no role," he said, referring to calls from the opposition and Western countries for him to quit.

But, he added, "the powers of the president are fixed by the constitution and the president cannot abandon his powers, the constitution does not belong to him".

"(A change) in the referendum requires a popular referendum... if they want to talk about these matters, they will be presented during the conference (Geneva-2), and when and if we reach an agreement, we will put it to a referendum to see what the reaction of the Syrian people is. "But if they are asking in advance for a change in the constitution, the president, the government cannot do that," al-Assad said. 

May/30/2013

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mustapha kamel

6/1/2013 9:49:13 PM

I think Assad should send his best pilots over the skies of Israel to protest against Israeli bombing. I'm sure he'll be assured of a warm welcome.

ebby m

5/31/2013 4:44:45 PM

80,000 dead and now Iran and Assad try to deflect the attention and blame Israel.

dennis kavaz

5/31/2013 12:40:53 PM

Mr Assad has said it is up to the Syrian people to decide Syria’s fate; he is 100% right, how nice of him, still he should have thought of it 3 years ego when the Syrians first demonstrated in streets peacefully (before his troops killed any demonstrators) saying it now however it is far too late; and furthermore what’s the Golan-heights has to do with the current Syrian problem? Is he aiming to take every one with him?

mr who

5/31/2013 12:11:25 PM

Israel has a fully motorized armed brigade with air cover, surface to air missiles, anti tank weaponry, highly sophisticated communications, surveillance, electronic jamming systems,Cyber attack software and that’s an entree .

Rimon Tree

5/31/2013 11:07:26 AM

@ ilker Don't be ridiculous! Why do you think the israeli were able to capture the whole of Sinai? And Israel was not driven out of Lebanon, she just stopped the war after having reached her aim which meant NO rockets anymore from Lebanon to the north of Israel! Anyone who wants to challenge Israel should stop having any illusions about her being "weak"! Gold Meir said once: Peace will come when the Arabs start loving their children more than they hate the Jews! How wise! And how about you?

Rimon Tree

5/31/2013 9:57:41 AM

If he wants to get cold feet again and risking to loose another war launched unto Israel, he is welcome!

kalam kalam

5/31/2013 9:24:29 AM

'Pressure' from Iran to protect itself from Israeli attack. But majority of Syrian have already open many front against assad. Assad is so desparate even he started hiring militia from lebanon, iraq and pakistan

ilker avni

5/31/2013 12:51:59 AM

Assad is being presured by Iran to hit back at Israel,i am sure the Iranians would supply the arms and the men for such a purpose,Iran wants to confront the Israelies military wise,since it was they weapons that drove the Israelies from Lebanon,Israels power is its Airforce,with out it Israel is very weak,all its wars with the Arabs it was airpower that won them they wars.S300 Russian missiles could be a game changer this time togeather with Iranian fighters from Iran eager to fight Israel .

ivan mezei

5/30/2013 11:09:12 PM

The only reistance that Syria can afford right now is Hezbollah. I don't think Hezbollah wants a go at Israel at this time.
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