Syrian MP denies escalation with Israel

Says "Syria ready to defend itself, not striving for war;" Peres: Israel not looking to go to war.

Syrian soldier 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Syrian soldier 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
During a broadcast Thurday night on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network Syrian parliament member, Muhammad Habash, denied reports that Syria was mobilizing its reserves. "The atmosphere in Syrian is entirely normal and there is no reason or need for an additional draft of reserve troops," Habash stated. He then reiterated his opinion regarding Israel's intentions by saying, "Syria is ready to defend itself but is not striving for war- it is the Israeli side that is taking steps to bring about an escalation." These remarks came after reports Wednesday that Syria was calling up its reserves and increasing manpower on the Israeli-Syrian border. Responding to security forces state of high alert along the northern border, Deputy Prime Minster Haim Ramon said Thursday morning that "Israel has no intention of attacking Syria. Speaking to Israel Radio, he added that "the anxiety of the last few days is surprising, and has no basis." "Whilst the government is always looking to negotiate with Syria," said Ramon, "unfortunately Syria is stuck deep in the evil axis of connections with Hizbullah." Also Thursday, Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau head Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, confirmed that despite reports of Syrian reserves being called up, the northern front is not facing a new eruption of war. "Syria isn't interested in attacking Israel, and vice versa," he said. Gilad added that "the overseas publication of the fact that three Syrian divisions were called up is incorrect."