Assad says that Israel is Syria’s only enemy state because it continues to “occupy Syrian territory.”
In an interview to the Syrian Arabic daily newspaper Al-Watan, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that Israel is his country’s only enemy state.
“Israel alone remains our enemy state,” Assad said. “He who conquers our land is an enemy state, not just a country whose leaders employ hostile policies.”
The Syrian president was referring to the “hostile policies” of Persian Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have provided aid and support to rebel factions fighting in Syria’s civil war.
“The story is the same with the Gulf States – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – which have taken very hostile positions and have historically been one of the reasons for Israel’s continued existence and superiority in the region,” Assad continued.
Despite the “hostile positions” taken by Saudi Arabia and Qatar against the current regime in Damascus, Assad specifically directed his criticism at the leaders of those countries, not the countries themselves.
“This does not make the people of Saudi Arabia or Qatar or any other country an enemy people,” the Syrian president stressed. “Officials in these countries may have put themselves in the ‘enemies box,’ but not the state or the people.”
“Israel occupies Syrian territory, so the issue is different,” added Assad.
The “occupied Syrian territory” refers to the parts of the Golan Heights region that were won by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967 in which Syria attacked the Jewish state.
By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News