DAMASCUS, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government slammed Friday Turkey's request for the deployment of NATO's Patriot missiles near the Turkish borders with Syria, as Iranian parliament speaker warned that the "militarization" of the Syrian crisis would lead to more bloodshed.
In a statement on Friday, the Syrian foreign ministry slammed the Turkish request as a "provocative step" that aims to delude the Turkish public opinion that there is a threat coming from Syria.
The statement echoed the Syrian government's earlier line that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "has previously beefed up army forces on the borders with Syria and opened the Turkish territories for training and arming thousands of Syrian and non- Syrian terrorists as well as smuggling them through the borders into Syria with the aim of shedding the Syrians' blood."
The Syrian foreign ministry held the Turkish government responsible for militarizing the situation on the borders and harming the interests of the Syrian and Turkish people.
Turkey on Wednesday officially asked NATO to deploy Patriot missiles due to Ankara's fears of the spillover of the conflicts in neighboring Syria. However, Russia has voiced opposition to the plan and warned Ankara not to increase its military presence on the border.
"Militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is a worrying signal," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday.
Meanwhile, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned that the militarization of the Syrian crisis would lead to the killing of more Syrians and called for democratic reforms.
Larijani made the remarks during a brief visit to Syria on Friday, during which he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"Reforms in Syria are essential and they could be done through political dialogue, because the militarization of the crisis in Syria would lead to the killing of more people and I think this is wrong," Larijani told reporters upon his arrival.
For his part, Assad stressed that his administration will keep working to make a national dialogue successful in tandem with fighting terrorism.
Iran, which has emerged as a staunch ally to the Syrian government during the 20-month-old crisis, supports the peaceful and political solution to Syria, according to Iranian officials.
As the political and diplomatic wrangling about Syria continues, the tension on the ground kept gaining momentum with reports of clashes and killings.
Earlier on Friday, at least three people were killed and many others wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded in Syria' s northern province of Idlib, the state TV said, claiming that the suicide bomber was a member of the al-Qaida terror network.
Also, Syrian official SANA news agency said Friday morning that two "terrorist" groups have liquidated four residents in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour and videotaped the crime.
On the opposition side, activists said the government troops bombarded Damascus' suburb of Qaboun, killing one person and injuring some others.
Shelling was also reported by activists in the conflict- hardened al-Hajar al-Aswad, which has emerged as a stage for battles between the government forces and the persistent armed rebels.
Activists also reported the eruption of a number of anti- government protests in different areas in Syria as well as an explosion that rocked a government troops' checkpoint in the Khaled Bin al-Walid Street in Damascus, leaving a number of soldiers injured.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activists' network, said Thursday that over 40,000 Syrians had been killed during the 20-month-old crisis, including 28,026 civilians and rebel fighters, 1,379 defectors, 10,150 soldiers and 574 unidentified people.
Meanwhile, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, said Friday that the number of Syrian refugees registered or awaiting registration in neighboring countries doubled since the beginning of September and now stands at 442,256, a figure that does not include Syrians who did not come forward to register.
DAMASCUS, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani arrived in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday for a brief visit to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other officials, sources told Xinhua.
Received Friday morning by his Syrian counterpart Jihad al- Laham, Larijani is set to meet Assad and other Syrian top officials.Full story
MOSCOW, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Moscow would host a meeting of moderate Syrian opposition groups in helping them find a common ground with Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
"Next week, we expect the visit of a delegation from the Syrian internal opposition. These are, first of all, representatives of the National Coordination Committee as well as Kurds opposition," Lavrov told reporters.Full story
DAMASCUS, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The 20-month long unrest in Syria faced a fresh wave of violence as shells rained down in several districts of Damascus and death toll continued to rise across the country.
Multiple mortar shells on Thursday slammed a residential building and the vicinity of a school in al-Mazzeh in Damascus, causing property damages and some injuries.