Assad: Israel tries to drag Syria into wider conflict
In his first public comments about the recent Israeli air raid near Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al Assad accused Israel on Tuesday of trying to drag Syria and the rest of the Middle East into wider conflict.
"(The raid) is an attempt by the Israeli government to extract itself from its big crisis by trying to terrorize Syria and drag it and the region into other wars because this (Israeli) government is one of war and war is the justification for its existence," Bashar told the London-based al-Hayat daily in an interview published on Tuesday.
"There is no doubt that Syria's role in various issues in our region is painful for this (Israeli) government. What happened is a failed Israeli attempt to thwart this role, and we can say with all confidence that what happened will only make this role more effective in regional events," the Syrian leader added.
Asked about pressure from Washington, which has accused Syria of supporting "terrorists" and allowing fighters to cross into Iraq, Assad said: "We are not a superpower, but we are not a weak state either. We're not a country without cards...We are not a state that can be ignored in the issues under discussion."
He said he believed Damascus' dialogue with Washington should continue, but he also accused the United States of using Syria as a scapegoat for its policies.
"In reality, if the United States failed in the farthest part of Asia ... it would blame Syria and Iran - this is taken for granted," Assad said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)