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Friday, May 31, 2013

Assad: Syria Will Strike Back at Any Future Israeli Attack

DUBAI, May 31 (RIA Novosti) – President Bashar Assad has said that Syria “will respond in kind” to any future Israeli airstrike on its territory and expressed confidence in the victory over the foes of the Syrian state.

The Syrian government has been criticized for its muted response to recent Israeli airstrikes on several facilities in Syria in alleged attempts to stop shipments of missiles bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.

“We have informed the relevant states that we will respond in kind [next time],” Assad said in a televised interview with Lebanese al-Manar TV on Thursday. “We plan for different scenarios, depending on the circumstances and the timing of the strike.”

Assad said there was "popular pressure" to open a military front against Israel on the Golan Heights but such a move would require serious political, social and military deliberation.

Assad also said he had no doubts about his victory against opponents in a battle that he described as a "world war against Syria and the resistance [in reference to Hezbollah fighters]."

"Regarding my confidence about victory, had we not had this confidence, we wouldn't have been able to fight in this battle for two years, facing an international attack," he said.

Assad’s confident tone comes in a wake of a recent “shift in the balance of power” in the Syrian conflict as the government troops have scored a number of victories in the fight against the rebels throughout the country.

Assad reiterated his support of an international conference on Syria, which Russia and the United States attempt to put together in Geneva, but stressed that any outcome of this or any other Syria-related discussions by the international community must be “subject to the approval of the Syrian people through a popular referendum.”

“Nothing can be implemented without the approval of the Syrian people,” he said.

Asked about the controversial issue of the deliveries of Russian S-300 air defense systemsto Syria, Assad simply said Russia is committed to honoring the existing defense contracts with Syria.

“All of our agreements with Russia will be implemented, some have been implemented during the past period and, together with the Russians, we will continue to implement these contracts in the future,” the Syrian president said.

RIA Novosti

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