Syrian President Bashar Assad recently conveyed a personal message to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, informing him that he was interested in renewing the negotiations with Israel by means of Turkish mediation, and not by any other channel.
The Syrian president’s message to Netanyahu was passed on last night
by Dutch Foreign Minister Maxim Verhagen, who came to Israel from Damascus expressly for that purpose. The message did not address the
question as to whether the negotiations would be renewed with or without
any preconditions, and was kept deliberately vague.
This development goes hand in hand with the messages that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently conveyed to the Turks about his desire to have them resume mediating between the two countries.
Concurrent with the Turkish channel, officials in Netanyahu’s circle have also begun to look into the possibility of holding French-mediated talks with the Syrians.
Either way, Netanyahu seems predisposed to trying to promote the talks on the Syrian track, but has insisted that he will oppose a withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Netanyahu, furthermore, does not believe that the Syrians will agree to sever their close ties with Iran in exchange for such a withdrawal. That said, the prime minister believes that it is important for the two countries to be engaged in dialogue so they can discuss numerous issues and not solely in order to demarcate the border between them.
Obviously still off the radar at this point, but worth keeping an eye on.