Syrian military conducts exercises

2012-07-08 20:26


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Damascus - Syria's military began large-scale exercises simulating defense against outside "aggression," the state-run news agency said on Sunday in an apparent warning to other countries not to intervene in the country's crisis.

The exercise began on Saturday with naval forces in a scenario where they repelled an attack from the sea and will include air and ground forces over the next few days, Sana said.

State TV broadcast footage of missiles being fired from launch vehicles and warships.

Some in the Syrian opposition have appealed to the West for foreign forces to step in to stop bloodshed that they say has left more than 14 000 dead since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

So far, the West has shown little appetite to intervene militarily in the conflict.

Special UN envoy Kofi Annan acknowledged in an interview published on Saturday that the international community's efforts to find a political solution to the escalating violence in Syria have failed.

"The evidence shows that we have not succeeded," he told the French daily Le Monde.

Annan, the special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, is the architect of the most prominent international plan to end the crisis in Syria.

His six-point plan was to begin with a cease-fire in mid-April between government forces and rebels seeking to topple Assad, but the truce never took hold and now the almost 300 UN observers sent to monitor the cease-fire are confined to their hotels because of the escalating violence.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that time was running out on Syrian peace hopes and warned that the Syrian state could collapse.

Speaking in Japan, Clinton said Annan's acknowledgement that his peace plan was failing "should be a wake-up call for everyone."

She said last month was the deadliest for the Syrian people in the 16-month revolt, but added that the opposition "is getting more effective in defending themselves and going on the offensive against the Syrian military."

Read more on:    un  |  kofi annan  |  bashar al-assad  |  hillary clinton  |  syria  |  us  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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