Syria ready to respond to Israeli 'aggression,' minister warns

February 8, 2010 - 0:0

DAMASCUS ( -- Syria is ready to respond to Israeli “aggression”, Syrian Minister of Information Mohsen Bilal said Sunday.

Speaking at a seminar near the Israeli border, Bilal said his country was ready to respond to any Israeli “aggression,” and that Syria would “stand in the face of Israeli ambitions.”
Speaking just kilometers from the Golan Heights -- a strategically important plateau at the intersection of Israel, Syria and Lebanon seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war -- Bilal said the plateau was at “the core” of Syria's interests and vowed they would return to Syria.
The Golan Heights “will not remain under occupation,” he said.
Bilal reiterated Syria's position that peace could be achieved only with the return of all territories Israel occupied in 1967.
“We are working tirelessly towards true and lasting just peace, in which the occupation ends and the land is returned,” the minister said, dismissing Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights as “worthless.”
The Syrian information minister's comments were the latest volley in an increasingly heated exchange between from Israeli and Syrian officials.
“This is the message that should go out to the ruler of Syria from Israel,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said this week.
“In the next war, not only will you lose. Neither you nor the Assad family will remain in power,” he said.
Leiberman was responding to the remarks by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that Israel was driving the region toward war, and was “not serious about wanting peace.”
Syrian Minister of Information Mohsen Bilal