Agence France-Presse

Israel will not dismiss the possibility of future relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday.

The statement came as the Syrian government retook parts of southern Syria recently, regaining territories lost to rebels during the country’s seven-year civil war.

Responding to a reporter’s question if Israel would establish some kind of relations with Syria, Lieberman responded: “Our assessment is that we are far from that, but we do not rule out anything.’’

Israel says it has not taken sides in the Syrian civil war, but has bombed targets repeatedly in the war-torn country, typically weapons transfers to Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group and regional rival, and sites affiliated with Iran.

Lieberman has also stepped up rhetoric against the Syrian military warning them not to enter a buffer zone in the Syrian Golan Heights established after a 1973 war with Israel.

“Any Syrian soldier found in the buffer zone is endangering his life,’’ Lieberman said while touring the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

Syria and Israel remain in a formal state of war.

However, Israel’s de-facto border with Syria in the Golan Heights was one of Israel’s quietest borders until the civil war erupted.

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