Vicious attempts to destabilize the region and torpedo the peace process have persisted over recent decades with the goal of keeping a "no-peace no-war" status quo that nobody benefits from except the forces of occupation and evil.

The explosive situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Iraq is an integral part of the US-Israeli strategy of hegemony and expansion, which runs counter to international law and conventions. This strategy is based on an escalation of the already complex events in the region by the two allies that have so far rejected to abide by U.N. resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Amidst such a tense atmosphere, Syria and Lebanon continue to maintain the highest level of stability and security in the region, despite the blazes set by the U.S. and Israel. Furthermore, Syria and Lebanon continue to be strong advocates of a just and comprehensive peace, on the basis of the legitimacy of U.N. Resolutions 242, 338 and under the principle of land for peace.

The Beirut blast that caused the death of former Lebanese prime minister [Rafik Hariri] and other Lebanese citizens is part of a wider criminal plot to destabilize the region and push it to the verge of collapse.

The tragedy came as major shock to Syria, which has 'twinned' to Lebanon since the very dawn of history. The two countries share the same history and the same destiny. Hence, hostile forces have been concocting plots to sever the deeply rooted ties between us.

The assassination of Rafik Hariri is a national catastrophe meant to push Lebanon and the region into a conflagration, the consequences of which cannot be predicted. It is an attempt to assassinate Lebanon as a symbol of stability, peace and co-existence, not only in the region but also in the world.

The assassination of Hariri is an immense loss to both Lebanon and Syria and has been condemned by President Bashar al Assad as a criminal and terrible act. Syria supports Lebanon at this very critical moment and urges the Lebanese people to unite and confront all elements seeking to sow the seeds of dissension and civil strife. The Lebanese must unite and speak with one voice against the hostile forces that committed this heinous act. However, first and foremost we must also ask the question: Who stands to gain from this criminal act.