Assad on Al-Manar.
(photo credit: SANA NEWS AGENCY/Press Handout)
Syrian President Bashar Assad's long term plans include a continued struggle against Israel, Lebanese officials visiting Syria told Lebanese paper Al Akhbar.
"The commitment of the Syrian community to resist the Israeli enemy can help fortify the internal struggle facing Syria," Assad told the officials.
According to the official, Assad called on all Syrian factions to join with Palestinian forces in resisting Israel along the Golan Heights.
"We have to protect our oil from the Americans... and employ the proceeds in the development of our country and in the conflict with the Israeli enemy," Assad said.
In May, Assad said he was considering the possibility of "opening a new front on the Golan," in an interview with Al-Manar TV.
Assad's recent comments coupled with his assertion that he has contemplated renewing the conflict with Israel is particularly troubling at a time when the Syrian civil war has threatened to trickle across the Syrian-Israeli border.
Austrian UN peace keepers evacuated the border area a week ago after Assad forces clashed with rebels near the border saying, "this morning's developments show that a further delay (in pulling out soldiers) is no longer justifiable."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made it clear in recent weeks that Israel is ready to defend itself should it prove necessary.
"We are seeing a new Middle East that is raging and volatile," Netanyahu said at a recent Knesset meeting, "this requires us to protect the security of our citizens."Ariel Ben Solomon and Reuters contributed to this report.