Peace with Israel will only come with the return of all occupied Syrian lands, President Bashar Assad repeated Wednesday as US officials toured the Middle East to promote a new regional conference.
"Our desire for peace does not mean at all abandoning our rights," Assad said in a televised speech to mark the Syrian national army day.
"Syria's leadership, people and military will only accept the full return of the Golan Heights," he said. The Heights were captured by Israel during the Six Day War.
His comments came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates met regional leaders to promote a Palestinian-Israeli peace conference proposed by President George W. Bush for September.