Assad sets conditions for Syrian participation in peace conference
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was quoted Monday as saying that his government will not attend a Middle East peace conference unless Damascus' concerns are addressed. President Assad told the BBC in an interview that this meant primarily the return of the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967.
According to Assad, no opportunity for peace should be squandered, but he saw little of the substance needed for success in US plans for a conference in November.
In his BBC interview, the Syrian leader stressed that Syria still needed more clarification about the conference before it took its decision whether to attend or not. "So far we didn't have the invitation and we didn't have any clarification about anything," he stated.
"If they don't talk about the Syrian occupied territory, no, there's no way for Syria to go there. "It should be about comprehensive peace, and Syria is part of this comprehensive peace. Without that, we shouldn't go, we wouldn't go."
Assad also spoke about an Israeli air raid on northern Syria early in September which he said showed Israel's "visceral antipathy towards peace". He said Syria reserved the right to respond to the attack.