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Show of force: Syria conducts major drills amid Western pressure (VIDEO)

Published time: July 08, 2012 14:48
Edited time: July 08, 2012 18:48

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on July 7, 2012, shows a missile being fired during a Syrian military excercise at an undislosed coastal location in Syria (AFP Photo / HO)

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Syria`s military has launched a series of large-scale exercises starting with naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea. The move is thought to be targeted at the West to demonstrate Syria`s capacity to defend its borders.

On Saturday Syria`s naval forces engaged in a military exercise whereby they repelled an aggressive attack at sea. The warships in tandem with launch vehicles fired several missiles, all of which hit their targets with high precision, the country`s SANA agency reports.

The exercise was attended by high profile military officials, including Syria`s Defense Minister Gen. Dawood Rajha.
Air and ground forces are also expected to join the exercise, which will continue over the next few days.

The maneuvers are set to test Syria`s combat readiness in circumstances similar to actual combat conditions.

Meanwhile UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan is on this way to Damascus to hold talks with authorities.

"It is confirmed that Mr Annan will visit Damascus, within the framework of his mission, for discussions with the Syrian leadership on the subject of the six-point plan," Syria`s Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi confirmed Sunday.

His visit comes amid growing tensions around the Syrian conflict. On Sunday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that time was running out to save Syria from a "catastrophic assault," referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching an assault on state institutions.

Earlier Clinton lashed out at Russia and China, saying they will “pay the price” for collaborating with Syrian authorities. The harsh statement was made during the meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria in Paris.

Speaking to Le Monde on Saturday, Annan said western criticism of Russia and China was senseless. He also pointed out that "little is said about other countries which send arms, money, and have a presence on the ground."

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