(photo credit: Courtesy)
Syrian officials reiterated their threat to forcefully take the Golan Heights from Israel unless an agreement between the two countries is reached soon.
During a ceremony Saturday inaugurating a new communications center in Kuneitra, the Syrian town closest to the border with Israel, the Syrian Committee for the Liberation of the Golan threatened to take practical measures to return the Golan to Syrian control, adding that Israel was not showing any willingness to negotiate the return of the territory in peace talks.
Syrian President Bashar Assad was also present at the ceremony.
Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said that the new center would "report the despair of Syrian residents living in the occupied Golan, under the rule of the barbaric and racist state of Israel."
Bilal was most likely referring to Druse residents of the Golan, some of whom have stated their preference for living under Syrian rule.
On Wednesday, Assad said there was no possibility of reaching an agreement with Israel as it was not committed to a deal.
"For reaching an agreement an Israeli partner committed to international law, to UN decisions and to the principle of land for peace is necessary ," Assad said after meeting his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias in Damascus. The Syrian president said such an Israeli partner did "not exist" at this time.
Papoulias said Greece would be Syria's "gate to the European Union."
He called on Israel to immediately withdraw from the Golan Heights.