July 15, 2006

Assad pledges Syrian help for Lebanon

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria will put its resources at the
disposal of Lebanon to help cope with Israeli attacks
devastating the country, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud by phone on Saturday.

The official news agency SANA said Assad expressed
solidarity with Lebanon, where Israeli bombing has killed
around 100 civilians since Hizbollah captured two Israeli
soldiers in a cross-border operation on Wednesday.

It was the first comment by Assad since the confrontation
began between Israel and Hizbollah, which is backed by Syria
and Iran.

SANA did not say whether Assad discussed Hizbollah during
the telephone call with Lahoud and gave no details on what kind
of help he was offering.

The ruling Baath Party said in a communique on Friday that
Syria fully supports Hizbollah, although Washington has said
Damascus must pressure Hizbollah to release the Israeli
soldiers and stop its cross-border attacks.

Syria's border crossings have become Lebanon's only outlet
to the world after Israel blockaded the country and attacked
its airport and seaports.