Assad: 'Syria continues to back Hamas, Hizbullah'

Syrian President Bashar Assad said "Syria would continue to support Hamas and Hizbullah," Israel Radio reported overnight Wednesday. Assad spoke in a two-day convention of the Ba'ath Party. He mentioned "the legitimate right of these groups to continue the resistance, until we regain occupied land." Sources in the convention quoted Assad as saying that peace throughout the Middle East would only come when Israel returned "stolen Arab land", including the Golan Heights. The Ba'ath convention precedes a referendum which is in effect the Syrian form of elections. Ba'ath sources expect the party, and Assad, to continue holding Syria's reins in the coming seven years.