(photo credit: AP)
Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered Syrian authorities on Tuesday to distribute Syrian ID cards to the Druse residents of the Golan Heights.
The Syrian Sama news agency said that the move was made in order to ease the suffering of the Druse people resulting from harassment by Israeli rule and violations of their rights.
Earlier Tuesday, Syrian Chief of General Staff Ali Habib called on his country's pilots to be prepared to fight against any possible attack.
During a graduation ceremony of newly trained pilots, Habib spoke about the need to keep abreast of scientific developments. "This to ensure that our aerial forces are always at the height of readiness to strike back against any traitorous aggression that violates the motherland's airspace."
Habib also used the platform of the graduation ceremony to warn Arab regimes against participation in the upcoming US-sponsored Annapolis peace conference, which is scheduled for late November. "The Arab people have begun to understand the reality of Zionist machinations and are now aware of attempts by the US to fool the world by its claims of peace and by the need to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through what this [regime] calls 'the peace conference,'" he said.
According to Habib, Washington was ignoring the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which, he claimed, was the need to "end the Zionist occupation of Arab lands according to relevant international decisions."
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal el Mekdad echoed Habib's statements in a speech he made in Damascus.
Syria sticks to a just and comprehensive peace, Mekdad said. The country remained faithful to the principle of returning "all Arab lands occupied in Palestine and Lebanon" and returning "the occupied Syrian Golan according to the June 4, 1967 borders."
Despite the signs of tension between Israel and its northern neighbor dissipating, Mekdad hinted that a war with Israel might still erupt. "The situation in the region is difficult; all the options are still open," he said.