(photo credit: REUTERS)
The chief coordinator of Syria's main opposition bloc on Tuesday has blamed Israel for moves he claims support the continued rule of the country's President Bashar Assad.
"If it weren’t for the support of the Israeli occupation, Bashar Assad wouldn’t remain [in power] until now," Arab media quoted Riad Hijab as telling reporters.
While Israel and Syria have never had formal diplomatic ties, Syrian opposition forces have more than once claimed that the Assad regime has employed Israeli technology
during the years-long bloody civil war.
During the press conference Tuesday, Hijab charged that former Syrian president, and the current leader's father, Hafez Assad, was responsible for Israel's current control of the strategic plateau due to his rejection of offers by the Jewish state to surrender to the pre-1967 borders in exchange for peace.
Responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks
earlier in the week that the Golan Heights "will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty,” the Syrian opposition leader pledged that the territory would return to Syrian control.
“We won’t give up on our territorial completeness or on the unification of our social fabric,” Hijab asserted. “We won’t concede a single grain of soil. The Golan is Syrian land and it will be returned to Syria."
Hijab also said there will be no solution for the more than four-year Syrian conflict as long as Assad remains in power.
"Bashar Assad will not remain and we will not forgive. Bashar Assad must face justice, he must be punished, he will not escape punishment. Not he or any of the criminals who commit massacres towards the Syrian people," Hijab said.
He also called on major powers to urgently meet to re-evaluate a truce on the Syrian civil war that he said was no longer in place and said there could be no talks while the Syrian people continued to suffer.
"I ask the UN, and the great nations, with the United States at its head, if you are unable to let a bottle of milk pass, how will you be able to move a political process and achieve a political transition in Syria?"
Reuters contributed to this report.