Syrian President Bashar Assad has urged the United States to play a stronger role in Mideast peacemaking, according to Syria's state-run news agency Assad appealed to the US on Thursday during a meeting with US congressman Alcee Hastings in Damascus. US President Barack Obama has stepped up diplomatic efforts to improve ties with Syria and push the country away from its alliance with Iran and its support for terror groups like Hizbullah and Hamas. Damascus wants to end its international isolation and hopes the US can help boost its weak economy and mediate peace talks with Israel. Assad also lashed out at Israel Thursday, saying it was not ready for peace. The last round of Syria-Israel peace talks collapsed in 2000.