Damascus: Seven Syrian soldiers, one an officer, were killed in an ambush by a "terrorist group" near Damascus on Saturday morning, state media said.
"A terrorist group attacked a bus that was carrying soldiers in Damascus province and seven troops were killed, among them an officer," the official SANA news agency said, adding that they were from a signals unit.
Violence spiralling out of control
Dubai: More than 110 people were killed on Thursday night and Friday as the Syrian government forces pounded the restive cities of Hama and Homs amid violence spiralling out of control.
The region watched in shock as a video posted online by activists showed the bloodied bodies of five small children, five women of varying ages and a man, in the Karm Al Zaytoun neighbourhood of Homs.
"The violence in Syria increased in a significant way between January 24 and 27," head of the Arab monitoring mission General Mohammad Ahmad Mustafa Al Dabi said as dozens of tanks were deployed in Douma, a suburb of Damascus.
The bloodbath comes as the UN Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss a draft resolution that calls on President Bashar Al Assad to hand over "full authority" to his deputy and for the "formation of a national unity government." Russia however said it would oppose any resolution calling for the removal of Al Assad from power.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that seven Iranian citizens were captured by the Free Syria Army, five of which were said to be spies working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. YouTube footage showed the passports of the "spies" which indicated they arrived in the country last year on a military mission.
Speaking to Gulf News, Haitham Rahmeh, member of the Syrian National Council, said his group was contacted by Iranian authorities to seek their release. "They will not be released until we get assurances that Iran will not interfere in our struggle for freedom against the regime," Rahmah said.
Riyadh to recognise national council
Saudi Arabia will recognise the Syrian National Council (SNC) as the "official representative" of the Syrian people, a member of the opposition group executive bureau has said. "The Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal told a delegation from the SNC he met in Cairo last week that the kingdom would recognise the SNC as the official representative of the Syrian people," Ahmad Ramadan told Kuwaiti Arabic daily Al Rai.