Assad says reconciliation with Israel on border conflict is possible

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said an agreement that would prevent conflict on the Israeli-Syrian border is being mulled. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday night that contacts among the Russians, the US and Israel are “ongoing” and that reaching a settlement along the Israeli-Syrian border is still possible.

In an interview with Iran’s Al Alam TV broadcast, Assad said the southwestern region, where Iranian-backed forces are near the border with Israel, is “not the international bazaar” and that the relationship between Syria and Iran “will not be part of any settlement.”

Assad said that after regime forces captured Ghouta in southern Syria from rebels in April, “it was suggested that we should move south.”

“We were faced with two options,” he continued, “reconciliation or liberation by force. At this point, the Russians suggested the possibility of giving reconciliation an opportunity.”

“Up till now, there are no concrete results for a simple reason, which is Israeli and American interference, as they put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution,” he said.

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Assad claimed that Iran does not have any military bases in Syria, unlike Russia, adding that if there is “a need for Iranian military bases, we will not hesitate.”

However, on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iranian-backed forces stationed on the Golan border, including from the Hezbollah terror group, had begun posing as Syrian military units in a ploy to stave off pressure from Israel.

Multiple Syrian rebel commanders told the WSJ that Lebanese Hezbollah troops and other Iranian-backed militias withdrew from the Daraa and Quneitra provinces in Syria’s southwest near Israel but later returned dressed in Syrian military uniforms and under the regime flag.

One commander told the paper that the convoys were returning equipped with rockets and missiles.

“It’s a camouflage,” Ahmad Azam, a commander with the rebel Salvation Army, a rebel group based in Quneitra, told the WSJ.

“They are leaving… in their Hezbollah uniform and they are returning in regime vehicles and dressed in regular [Syrian] army uniforms.”

Assad said Syria had invited Iran and Russia to participate but that he regarded American, French, Turkish and Israeli forces acting on Syrian territory as occupying powers.

“Our position as a state has been from the beginning to support any act of resistance, whether against terrorists or against occupying forces, regardless of their nationality,” he stated.

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