Syria would defend itself if "dragged" into a war with Israel, Syrian member of parliament Suleiman Haddad said Tuesday. "We hope not to be dragged by Israel into a position where we have to defend ourselves against any aggression. If we are obliged, we will defend ourselves," Haddad told the Associated Press. "We aim for calm, but if Israel wants escalation, we will not be silent." Haddad denied Israel's accusation that Syria was supplying Hezbollah with weapons. Haddad's comments came a day after President Bashar Assad called on his army to increase readiness to cope with "regional challenges."