The Jerusalem Post
June 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla has increased the chances of war in the Middle East, in a BBC interview on Wednesday.

Assad said that Syria was working to prevent a regional war but he added that there was no chance of a peace deal with the current Israeli administration, which he called a "pyromaniac government".

According to the Syrian president last month's Israeli commando assault on the Free Gaza flotilla in international waters had serious consequences. He noted that the attack on ships attempting to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip killed nine Turkish activists.

Israel recently set up an inquiry into the raid after rejecting a UN proposal for an international investigation.

"[The raid has] destroyed any chance for peace in the near future," Assad told the BBC. "Mainly because it proved that this government is another pyromaniac government, and you cannot achieve peace with such [a] government."

Assad denied that he was sending weapons to Hizbullah in Lebanon, said he was happy to do business with the United States, but insisted that Iran would remain an ally.


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