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Syria 'can tackle any aggression'

DAMSCUS - Syrian President Bashar Assad says his military is capable of confronting any "aggression" that targets the country.

The comments by Assad are the first since an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday that US officials say was targeting a convoy of anti-aircraft weapons inside Syria bound for Hizbollah.

The remarks were reported yesterday by Syrian state TV. It said Assad spoke during a meeting with visiting top Iranian official, Saeed Jalili.

Assad said Syria is capable of facing current challenges and can "confront any aggression" targeting the Syrian people.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of waging "state terrorism" as he condemned the air strike on Syria as an unacceptable violation of international law. "Those who have been treating Israel like a spoilt child should expect anything from them, at any time," said Erdogan. "Israel has a mentality of waging state terrorism. Right now, there is no telling what it might do and where it might do it," he said.

Erdogan was speaking after Israel's outgoing defence minister Ehud Barak implicitly confirmed that it had staged Wednesday's bombing raid which Damascus said targeted a military complex near the capital.

Meanwhile, a former Syrian parliament member and three members of his family were killed yesterday in a rebel-held area near the city of Aleppo, the state news agency SANA reported. It said "terrorists," the term the Syrian government uses for rebels, fired at Ibrahim Azzouz's car in Sheik Said neighborhood near the city's airport, killing him along with his wife and their two daughters.

The Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops bombarded a building in in Aleppo's rebel-held neighborhood of Eastern Ansari and killed at least 11 people, including five children.

An amateur video released by the The Aleppo Media Centre showed a building reduced to a pile of debris with dozens of people digging through the rubble. "The family of the man over there is still under the rubble," a man could be heard saying, referring to a man standing in the area.



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