The Syrian army is capable of confronting Israel, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Damascus, according to Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star.
Assad was responding to alleged Israeli airstrikes on Syria over the weekend, targeting what Israeli officials have said were Iranian missiles intended for Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah militants.
Assad also reportedly described the strikes as an act of terrorism aimed at Syria.
"The Syrian people and its army who have made important achievements by fighting terrorist and Takfiri groups are capable of confronting Israel's ventures that represent one of the many faces of terrorism targeting Syria today,” The Daily Star quoted Assad as saying, citing a Syria state TV report.
"The Israeli aggression on Syria reveals the extent of Israel and other regional and Western states' involvement in ongoing events in Syria," Assad was quoted as saying.
Ahead of the meeting, Salehi told reporters in Jordan that there would be unforeseeable consequences if Assad was toppled and only a political settlement to Syria's civil war would avoid a regional conflagration.
"God forbid, if there is any vacuum in Syria, these negative consequences will affect all countries ... No one knows what will happen," he warned.