Syria: The prospect of war grows

Assad says Israel-Turkey rift threatens stability of the region.

bashar assad 311 (photo credit: AP)
bashar assad 311
(photo credit: AP)
Syrian President Bashar Assad warned that the current rift in Israel-Turkey relations threatens the stability of the Middle East, and said "the chances of peace grow slim, and the prospect of war grows."
Speaking at a press conference in Madrid Monday, Assad said that if "relations between Israel and Turkey are not renewed, it will be very difficult for Turkey to continue its role in the [peace] negotiations."
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Relations between the two countries deteriorated in the wake of Israel's raid on the ship Mavi Marmara, which resulted in the death of nine Turkish citizens.
Assad called Turkey a crucial part of the peace process, saying "Turkey knows the ins and outs of the Middle East," and "there was never such a significant factor as Turkey for peace talks, and the stability of the region."
Relations between Israel and Turkey frayed further today after Turkey threatened to cut ties with Israel unless Israel issued a formal apology for the flotilla raid.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded that Israel had "no intention of apologizing to Turkey."
Last week, reports surfaced that Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer had conducted a secret meeting with Davutoglu in Zurich, causing tensions to rise between the foreign minister and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“The foreign minister views very gravely the fact that this was done without informing the Foreign Ministry,” said a statement put out by Lieberman’s office.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement of its own, saying that the failure to inform Lieberman of the meeting was due to “technical” reasons.