Syria armed forces hold ‘large-scale’ exercises

Monday, July 9, 2012
By Paul Martin

BBC.com
8 July 2012

The Syrian armed forces have been conducting “large-scale” manoeuvres to test their “combat capability and readiness”, Syrian state media report.

The exercises showed Syria was able “to defend [its] shores against any possible aggression”, according to state-run news agency Sana.

Tensions along the border with Turkey have been raised after Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet last month.

Meanwhile President Assad has accused the US of trying to destabilise Syria.

He said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD that the US was “part of the conflict” and was giving political support to “gangs” trying to “destabilise” his country.

The remarks were provided by the station ahead of the transmission of the interview later on Sunday.

Live ammunition

Syrian Defence Minister Gen Dawoud Rajha was one of several high-ranking officers attending the manoeuvres, according to a report on Syrian TV.

“Our Navy forces started to conduct an operational tactical manoeuvre with live ammunition, during which naval and coastal rockets were fired,” the report added.

The exercises were part of a training plan which involves manoeuvres “carried out over several days”, Sana said.

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