Assad forces in exercises to repel outside 'aggression'
Monday 09 July 2012
In a show of force, Syria carried out large-scale military exercises
yesterday to simulate defending the country against outside "aggression".
The military manoeuvres began on Saturday, with naval forces playing out a scenario in which they repelled an attack from the sea, and will include air and ground forces over the next few days, the state-run SANA news agency said.
The exercise came as Syria's president Bashar al-Assad said that he would not step down "in the face of national challenges".
In a television interview, Assad accused the US of fuelling a violent uprising against his government. German public broadcaster ARD quoted him saying the US was partnering with those "terrorists … with weapons, money or public and political support at the UN".
Meanwhile, the UN special envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus yesterday for talks with the president, a day after admitting that his peace plan had so far failed to end 16 months of bloodshed.
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