Syria: Gaza flotilla could mean war

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010
Syria's President Assad has called the Israeli government "pyromaniacs".

Syria's President Assad has called the Israeli government "pyromaniacs".

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has said the attack on the Gaza flotilla activists could be a catalyst for more war in the Middle East.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Assad said there was no chance of peace with Israel’s “pyromaniac government”.

He said: "When you don't have peace, you have to expect war every day, and this is very dangerous."

Mr Assad said the raid on the flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists died, "destroyed any chance for peace in the near future".

He said that the Israeli government had given indications of "their intentions towards peace, their intentions towards the Palestinians, their intentions to kill Palestinians".

“With this government it's something different from any previous Israeli government."

The Syrian president denied sending weapons to Hizbollah in Lebanon and insisted that he would not cut ties with Iran.

Mr Assad also said that Turkey, whose representative had been acting as peace intermediary between Syria and Israel, would be unlikely to continue doing so.

The US still imposes sanctions against Syria but has indicated that those could be lifted if the country cuts its ties with Iran.

Last updated: 3:15pm, June 17 2010