Syria criticizes Turkey's request for NATO missiles
Syria on Friday denounced as "a new provocation" a a request by Turkey to deploy NATO Patriot missiles on their shared border, dpa reported.
"Syria is holding (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan responsible for the militarization of the situation on the border," Syrian state television cited an unnamed official at the Foreign Ministry as saying.
Turkey has asked its NATO partners earlier this week to deploy surface-to-air Patriot missiles to protect its troubled border with Syria.
Relations have soured between the two neighbours after Turkey's border villages were hit by artillery fire from Syria, killing five Turkish civilians.
The Syrian reaction to Ankara's request came shortly after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met Iranian parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani in the capital Damascus.
Syrian television quoted al-Assad as telling Larijani that Damascus is pursuing "efforts to achieve national dialogue while fighting terrorism."
Al-Assad's government has frequently portrayed its crackdown on the opposition as a fight against terrorism.
Larijani, whose country is a key ally of al-Assad, later on Friday arrived in the Lebanese capital Beirut as part of a regional tour that includes a stop in Turkey.
The Iranian Mehr news agency quoted Larijani as saying that his tour was part of Tehran's efforts to "try and find a solution to the Syrian problem."
Al-Assad's troops and opposition fighters Friday clashed inside the northern city of Aleppo, the scene of fighting for the last four months, reported the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It gave no casualty figures.
Both sides battled in the area of Zabdani in the eastern part of Damascus, and Darya on its outskirts, said activists.
A car bomb exploded near a government checkpoint in the northern province of Idlib, killing at least three army soldiers and wounding 15, added the Britain-based watchdog.
At least 40,000 people have been killed in Syria since a revolt against al-Assad's rule started in March last year, according to the opposition.
News from Syria cannot be independently verified, as authorities are barring most foreign media from the country.
Qatar, an outspoken critic of al-Assad's regime, Friday asked a newly created Syrian opposition coalition to appoint an ambassador to the Gulf state, the first such move by an Arab country.
"The Qatari request aims to strengthen the goals of the Syrian National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces to achieve the hopes of the Syrian people," the Qatari state news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying.
Britain, France and six Gulf Arab countries, including Qatar, have recognized the new coalition, launched earlier this month to present a united front against al-Assad's government.