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 attack that damaged a pipeline that carries gas to Turkey will resume operation within 3 days.
Israel and Cyprus have agreed to expand their cooperation on energy issues, including use of pipelines and electricity grids to link to European markets, as both countries develop natural gas fields off their coasts.
In a newly released video, Qardawi denies giving any green light attack for suicide attacks by Palestinians now that they have fuse missile capable of reaching further in Israel.
United Nations human rights office expessed its concern over trial of former officials who served under Muammar Gaddafi
Nusra Front captured Jisr al-Shughour in May, in a wider offensive that drove government forces from nearly all the northwestern province of Idlib.
'There is no doubt in my mind that Israel is an apartheid state,' says Denis Goldberg, who fought alongside Mandela
Federica Mogherini arrived in Tehran where she will meet top officials, including President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif
An investigation has unearthed links between HSBC and the UAE in closing bank accounts of British Muslim individuals and organisations, apparently in a link to the Muslim Brotherhood.
A court in Libya has Saif al-Islam, and eight others to death over war crimes linked to the 2011 revolution
Bahrain Interior Ministry considers the blast as terrorist attack
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In a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Zarif has said his country has no dispute with other countries in the region
Michael Ratney will replace Daniel Rubinstein in the posts
Turkish Energy Minister Yildiz says that although the explosion caused a fire, it was extinguished within a short time
Self-proclaimed Jewish state to respond to mock attacks from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, senior army source is quoted as saying
Meeting had been scheduled to discuss formation of joint Arab force