Assad: Flotilla clash could lead to war


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syria’s President Bashar Assad said Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla has increased the chances of war in the region.

"When you don’t have peace, you have to expect war every day, and this is very dangerous," he said.

In an interview with the BBC that aired Thursday, Assad also said that there is no chance that the Palestinians or the Arab world will strike a peace deal with the current Israeli government.

Assad told BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen that the interception of the flotilla, which led to the deaths of nine passengers, "proved that this government is another pyromaniac government, and you cannot achieve peace with such [a] government."

The Syrian leader said the Arab world does not have a partner for peace in Israel.

"No, we definitely don’t have a partner, we know this," he said.

It was clear before the interception of the flotilla, Assad said, that Israel was not ready to make peace. He said Syria had "other evidence about the intentions of this government, about the intentions toward the peace, about the intentions toward the Palestinians, the intentions to kill Palestinians."

Assad denied that he was arming Hezbollah in Lebanon and also said that Iran would continue to be Lebanon’s ally.

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