Syria: We don’t want war


Syria said it wants no war with Israel.

“Syria doesn’t want war, and Israel knows this,” Syrian Vice President Farouk Shara told reporters in Damascus on Tuesday, playing down speculation that the two old foes could do battle over the Golan Heights. “But Syria is preparing for it because it knows and feels that Israel wants a pretext for war as happened in 2006.”

In remarks that appeared to have been timed for the anniversary of the Aug. 14, 2006 cease-fire that ended Israel’s war with Syrian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, Shara described a recent military buildup by his country as a precaution against Israeli aggression.

Since the Lebanon war, Syrian President Bashar Assad has signaled a willingness to resume peace talks with Israel on the condition it agrees to give up the Golan. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has also been at pains to dispel war fears, has balked at entering negotiations with preconditions.

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