World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday his country was in a state of war and ordered his newly appointed government to direct all its efforts towards vanquishing the uprising against him.
"We live in a real state of war from all angles," Assad told a cabinet he appointed on Tuesday in a speech aired on Syrian state television. "When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war."
Assad dismissed the arguments of Western countries that have been calling for him to step aside. The West "takes and never gives and this has been proven at every stage," he said.
"We want good relations with all countries but we must know where our interests lie," he said.
Syrian forces are accused by the United Nations of killing more than 10,000 people during a 16-month revolt that has posed the greatest threat to four decades of Assad family rule.
The president's speech - which also included comments on the benefits of renewable energy and the strategic importance of the Syrian agriculture sector, while troops and rebels battled on the outskirts of Damascus - will be seen as an escalation of Assad's firm rhetoric that has shown no sign of compromise.
He said Syrians would learn to support the government once it better explained its plans for political reforms.
"When we transparently communicate with citizens, the citizens will understand and support us," he said.
"As I have always said, the problem is communicating with the citizen... When we don't explain, the citizen does not know what their capabilities are, so the minister or the government will not be evaluated objectively."
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Tuesday pledged $500 million in humanitarian aid to help ease the crisis in Syria.
Syrian state television put the number killed at 44 and said 21 others had been wounded in the attack on Mabouja, a 60-km (40 mile) drive east of Hama. A Syrian military source said the army had repelled the assault on Tuesday.
A strike early on Tuesday near Sanaa airport blew a large crater in a group of five houses, witnesses said. There were no casualties, suggesting the buildings had been empty since a deadly raid in the same area last week.
Aiming to seal preliminary deal by Tuesday midnight with diplomats fear opportunity will be lost if no deal today
Explosions and heavy gunfire was heard in the Shida and al-Hisama districts of Saada province and near the town of Haradh in neighbouring Hajja province.
fState TV says tons of food and medical supplies have been airlifted to Shiite militant group.
"Iran and Saudi Arabia can cooperate to solve the Yemeni crisis," Abdollahian told reporters in Kuwait, speaking through a translator. "We recommend all parties in Yemen return to calm and dialogue".
In a statement, the independent aid agency "called for the urgent removal of obstacles to the delivery to Yemenof vital medical supplies needed to treat casualties from a week of deadly clashes and air strikes".
Egypt Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Egypt was in contact with Saudi Arabia and Oman in an effort to ease the return of Egyptian nationals from Yemen.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is mounting an attempt to airlift nationals from the Yemeni city of Sanaa.
Ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh thanked Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said in a Facebook statement
Iranian news website Tabnak named the journalist as Amir Hossein Motaghi, who helped Rouhani to his landslide win in the 2013 presidential elections.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation agreement signed in Turkish capital
According to witnesses, pro-Saleh forces, Houthis enter Yemen's Ad Dali after 6 days of clashes