Assad: 'We won't cut Iran or Hizbullah ties'

Syrian president rejects Israel's demand; says detaching Syria from the two is "irrelevant" to reviving peace talks.

assad 224.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
assad 224.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Syrian President Bashar Assad rejected Israel's demand that Syria cut its ties with Iran and Hizbullah. He said that detaching his country from the two was "irrelevant" to reviving peace talks. In an interview published Friday with the Italian magazine L'Espresso, Assad went on to emphasize that his country was offering peace in return for the Golan Heights - captured from Syria in 1967 and then again in 1973 after recurrent Syrian cross-border attacks. The Syrian president said it would be possible to advance the peace process when the new US president was elected. Syria maintains ties with both Hizbullah and Iran, an extremist Shi'ite terror organization and a dominantly-Shi'ite state respectively, which both seek Israel's destruction.