Assad: Syria will respond to future Israeli strike

View photos
FILE - This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 file photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, unseen, at the presidency in Tehran, Iran. Assad is quoted by a Lebanese TV as saying the first shipment of Russian air defense missiles has arrived in his country. Al-Manar TV, owned by the militant Hezbollah group, is to air an exclusive interview with Assad later Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad says his forces will respond to any future Israeli strike on his country.

Assad spoke in an interview broadcast Thursday on Al-Manar, a TV station owned by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, a close ally.

Israel struck near the Syrian capital of Damascus earlier this month. Israeli officials said at the time they were targeting suspected shipments of advanced missiles purportedly intended for Hezbollah.

Asked whether Syria would respond to such strikes, Assad said: "We have told countries that we will respond to any strike with a similar strike." He says that the manner of the response "depends on the circumstance and timing" of the attack.

He also says he agrees 'in principle' to send negotiators to peace talks.