World Bulletin/News Desk
Syria's navy fired live missiles from ships and helicopters over the weekend, state media said on Sunday, in an exercise aiming at showcasing its ability to "defend Syria's shores against any possible aggression".
Syrian television aired video of a variety of missiles being fired from launchers on land and from ships and showed the Syrian Defence Minister Dawud Abdallah Rahijia in attendance.
"Naval Forces conducted an operational live fire exercise on Saturday, using missiles launched from the sea and coast, helicopters and missile boats, simulating a scenario of repelling a sudden attack from the sea," Syrian news agency SANA said, adding manoeuvres would continue for several days.
Opposition figures have been calling for a no-fly zone and NATO strikes against Syrian forces, similar to those carried out in Libya last year which enabled rebel ground forces to end the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.
But while President Bashar al-Assad has faced sanctions and international condemnation over his crackdown on dissent which has left thousands dead, major Western and Arab powers have shied away from the idea of direct military action.
Turkey has reinforced its border and scrambled fighter aircraft several times since Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet on June 22 over what Damascus said were Syrian territorial waters in the Mediterranean. Ankara said the incident occurred in international air space.
More than 30 people were killed on Sunday during a government bombardment and clashes between Syrian forces and Free Syrian Army rebels fighting to oust Assad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Activists reported heavy shelling in residential areas of Deir al-Zor city and in Deraa province, the birthplace of the revolt near the Jordanian border.
Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory, said that residents of al-Sharifa in the wider Deir al-Zor province said rebels had taken control of a tank looted in combat for the first time and were using it to attack army positions.
In recent weeks, rebels have become more and more brazen in their attacks, holding small areas of territory across the country and clashing with troops only a few miles from the presidential palace in Damascus.
After the discovery of a new tunnel, a Hamas operative has provided detailed information about the groups' tunnel network
Thousands of Syrians have fled fighting in the northern province over the last weeks, and camps for the displaced have been set up along the Turkish border with the UN now calling for an investigation into air strikes
More than 70 dead as Syria army battles jihadists south of Aleppo: monitor
48-hour truce came into effect in Aleppo on Thursday after days of intense fighting
Top Iranian commander was reportedly among those killed in the violence
A car bomb is one of two explosions that have hit Syria this morning
Following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech Iran has banned American cars
Shelling of the Yemen's beseiged city Taiz has compelled the head of the Yemeni govt negotiator to demand action from the UN
Israeli Prime Minister has once again slammed the West for anti-Israeli sentiment....
Powers iron out renewed cessation of hostilities following renewed fighting, particularly around Aleppo
US defense chief Carter says coalition will increase military support to local partners in Syria and Iraq to fight ISIL
Police stormed press syndicate’s Cairo HQ on Sunday and arrested two journalists for ‘inciting protests’ and ‘plotting to overthrow regime’
34 inmates already handed over to Syrian Red Crescent, prison sources say
Jordan shares 375-kilometer-long border with Syria, punctuated by numerous informal crossings
Head of UN humanitarian efforts for Syria warns of 'endless suffering' caused by renewed fighting
Riyadh and Khartoum have signed agreement to explore minerals in joint territorial waters of Red Sea