Syria Stages High-Level War Games As International Pressure Builds On Assad
Syria's army has staged a series of high-level war games, including test-firing missiles and running battle simulations, as the country faces growing international pressure over its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
Footage broadcast on state media showed the manoeuvres, claiming they were intended to test "the capabilities and the readiness of missile systems to respond to any possible aggression".
Syria holds war games on an annual basis, but according to reports these most recent tests were of a "higher" level than usual.
State media said that Syria's troops were "ready to defend the nation and deter anyone who dares to endanger its security" and added that all of its missiles hit their targets.
Syria is currently under international pressure from the Arab League, the United States and European countries to end the violent reprisals taken against domestic political protesters since an uprising there began in August.
In a verbal concession to the League, the Syrian foreign ministry said on Monday that it had accepted its request to send observers to the country in an attempt to enforce a government cease-fire.
The move opens up the possibility that sanctions imposed on Syria by the League in November could be brought to to a close.
The Arab League has not yet responded to the announcement, however. Its members had issued a threat to push for the involvement of the UN if Syria could not accept the latest series of demands, and Syria has previously made verbal concessions to the League before later rescinding them in practice.
More than 4,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began eight months ago, according to the UN.