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.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire went into effect on Tuesday, bringing to a halt 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the blockaded coastal enclave.
The same wartime leaders are enshrined along with war dead at the more widely known Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, visits to which by Japanese leaders typically outrage China
Karzai responded to the NATO invitation by saying either his successor as Afghan president or a member of the current government would attend instead.
Barack Obama vowed "justice will be done" against the killers of American journalist James Foley as the United States sought to identify targets for potential airstrikes in Syria.
UKIP wants Britain to leave the EU immediately, arguing it will be more democratic and prosperous outside the bloc
The plans were announced at the conclusion of a two-day meeting by the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) special task force on flights in conflict zones
Taiwan scrambled its jets to intercept two Chinese military aircraft, identified as Yun-8 transport aircraft, on Monday
The election could decide whether the commodities powerhouse takes a more market-friendly direction that attracts investment needed to revive the world's seventh-largest economy.
Russia and Ukraine have failed to reach a concrete agreement over the crisis in eastern Ukraine after talks in the Belarus capital Minsk.
A U.N. spokesman confirmed there had been a "temporary disruption" to the process but declined to elaborate.
Five people were killed and at least 25 injured in the riot that lasted 45 hours. Two guards who were taken hostage have been released and inmates transferred to other prisons.
The shellfire of the past two weeks between Pakistan and India has seen thousands flee their homes for safety.
Over the past week, Sanaa has been at the center of intense protests and sit-ins – organized by the Shia Houthi group – to demand the dismissal of the current government.
The denial came one day after a New York Times report said Egypt and UAE carried out military strikes on pro-Islamist militias in Libya.
The Islamic State, which recently seized control of parts of Iraq and Syria, accused Hezbollah of "carrying out criminal acts, such as burning refugee camps, forcible displacements and arrest campaigns" against residents of the Lebanese town of Arsal.
"According to our sources in the region, we know that IS earns $3 million each day from oil sales," an Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis expert said.