03/02/2013 11:17 GMT | Updated 03/02/2013 14:27 GMT

Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad, Accuses Israel Of 'Destabilising' Syria After Airstrike

President, Bashar al-Assad, has accused Israel of trying to "destabilise" Syria as he continues to fight a 22 month-long popular uprising in which at least 60,000 people have been killed.

Assad pledged to face any threats and "confront any aggression" directed at Syrian nationals.

His comments, reported by state news agency SANA, are his first after an Israeli airstrike on a military research centre in Jamraya, near Damascus, last Wednesday.


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Assad was quoted talking to Iran's national security council secretary, Saeed Jalili, who reaffirmed Tehran's "full support for the Syrian people" as they face "Zionist aggression".

The raid is purported to have targeted a convoy carrying SA-17 surface-to-air missiles possibly destined for Hezbollah, Syria's Shia allies in Lebanon, reports the BBC.

Israel has not officially acknowledged the strike although Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, hinted at responsibility at a security conference in Germany on Sunday.

He said: "I cannot add anything to what you have read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago," reports Sky News.

"I keep telling frankly that we said - and that's proof when we said something we mean it - we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon."

Israel has previously stated it will take measures to stop weapons falling into the hands of militant groups.

A spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOFHR) speaking to the Huffington Post UK refused to comment directly on Israel's strike or Assad's comments.

He said: "Some countries, they want to destroy Syria. They don't want the Syrian people to move to democracy."

"We want democracy, we don't want to destroy Syria, more than half of Syria is destroyed now."

He would not comment on whether he was insinuating that Israel was one of the countries that did not want to see democracy in Syria.

At least 13 civilians are reported to have been killed in a government missile strike on the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday.

SOFHR warn the death toll could rise as rubble is removed from the site.