Syria Denies Helping Hezbollah

After six days of bombing, Israel says Syria is still managing to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. But in an exclusive interview with CBS News correspondent Richard Roth, Syria's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fayssal Mekdad, flat-out denies that.

"We have stopped all these kinds of things a long time ago," Mekdad says. "We don't supply Hezbollah with weapons, and Hezbollah does not want or need our weapons."

Speaking officially for the government, Mekdad says Syria stopped supplying weapons to Hezbollah more than a year ago — when its army left Lebanon. He adds that he doesn't know what weapons Hezbollah may have now.

"I can't speak about what Hezbollah has or does not have," he says. "But the fact is that Hezbollah is not receiving weapons from any part."

By that, Mekdad means not from Syria and not from Iran. Though throughout Damascus, Syrian president Assad shares poster space with the leader of Hezbollah, Syria's government bristles at Washington's accusations that Syria is supplying a safe haven for terrorism.

"There should be the minimum respect of views," Mekdad says. When asked to explain what that means, he replies, "Don't accuse Syria of terrorism. Don't impose your own views. Don't give us orders."

Syria says it does have influence it could exert on Hezbollah. But it's also telling Washington: Play ball with us and we'll help you; don't, and we won't.



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