Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview published Thursday that Israel is trying to cover up the failure of an Israel Air Force strike on his country early last month. Israeli jets raided a target in northeastern Syria on Sept. 6, which Assad has described as an unused military building.
Assad, in the interview with a Tunisian newspaper, said Israel's silence reflected the failure of Israeli or U.S. intelligence. "They are trying to cover up their failure by shrouding it with mystery," he said, according to A Shorouq daily.
Assad also ruled out his country's participation in a U.S.-sponsored international peace conference on the Middle East, suggesting that the meeting has no chance for success.
In the interview with te Tunisian newspaper, Assad said: "Syria has not received an invitation to the conference, and even if it did, it will not take part in a conference that lacks the chances of success."
In Thursday's interview, Assad said the conference should have serious and clear goals and should include all peace tracks including the occupied Golan issue. "The Syrian track is essential and the Golan issue is number one," he told A Shorouq.
In the interview, Assad acknowledged that relations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not as they should be but said Damascus was open to any initiatives to improve ties. The Syrian leader also warned against any U.S. military action against Iran, saying it would be foolish and detrimental to the region and to the world. He did not elaborate.
Assad also confirmed that Turkey was trying to mediate between his country and Israel. "We have told them [the Turks] that our stance toward peace does not change... All we want is a clear declaration by Israeli officials of their desire for peace and returning land to Syria," he said.
"We also want guarantees that the full territory would return," he added.