Assad: Failure of peace talks will bring resistance
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday warned that the failure of Middle East negotiations would lead Palestinians to renew resistance efforts as an "alternative solution", Haaretz reported.
At an Istanbul meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Assad called "resistance to the occupation a national duty," adding that "to support it is a moral and legal duty and standing by it is an honor which makes us proud."
Assad said that Arabs had a "fixed desire for the realization of just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the return of the occupied territories, especially Occupied Syrian Golan," but added that "the failure of negotiations in returning all rights means existence of the resistance as an alternative solution."
In his speech, Assad seemed to be referring to Israeli "occupation" on a whole, and not necessarily to his own country.
The Syrian leader said that rather than discussing a settlement freeze in the West Bank, he wanted to see a complete demolition of Israeli infrastructure there.
"What about dismantling settlements instead of stopping them and more importantly, what about ending the occupation?" he said.
"We have to keep the problem in its basic framework," he said. "The real cause of it is the Zionist occupation. We must begin to work for the elimination of the occupation since it ensures us stopping then removing the settlements and not the opposite."
Assad on Sunday urged Turkey to maintain good relations with Israel, in order to serve as an effective mediator in peace negotiations between Jerusalem and Damascus.