The Syrian military said on Friday that 10 air force personnel, including six pilots, were killed in an attack on a base and said the action proved foreign involvement in the eight-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
"An armed terrorist group undertook an evil assassination plot that martyred six pilots, a technical officer and three other personnel on an air force base between Homs and Palmyra," a military spokesman said on state television.
The attack took place on Thursday afternoon but the spokesman gave no other details about how the assault took place.
"This confirms the involvement of foreign elements and their support of these terrorist operations in an effort to weaken the fighting capabilities of our forces," he said.
The Syrian army has been struggling to quash what began as peaceful protests against the Assad family's 41-year rule, in which some 3,500 people are estimated to have died.
But they are facing an increasing number of attacks by army defectors who say their aim is to protect demonstrators. Damascus says some 1,100 of its security forces have been killed.
The spokesman said the "enemies of the nation" had benefited from the attack, particularly Israel.
"The army is always ready to protect the security of the nations and its citizens and to cut of the sinful hand that targets Syrian blood and threatens the security of its homeland," he said.
Earlier this week, the US embassy in Damascus urged all Americans to leave Syria immediately while there are still commercial flights. The number of airlines operating in Syria has dropped considerably since the summer, a statement posted on the embassy's website on Wednesday noted.
The US stated it believes Syria is descending into a civil war and foreigners are therefore in danger.
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