The official Syrian Arab News Agency, or SANA, claimed that President Bashar al-Assad is in Damascus on Thursday, contradicting other reports that he had fled with his family to the coastal city of Latakia.
Video News provided by IBTimes TV. Visit for Latest News, and Business News

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has declared that Syria is officially at war. The beleaguered president also insisted to his newly appointed government that all efforts should be channeled toward winning the war.

As the uprising enters its 16th month, Assad has finally stopped downplaying the violence that has convulsed Syria.

He previously attributed the insurgency to armed terrorists groups who are funded from abroad and has finally recognised the extent of the rebellion against his regime.

"We live in a real state of war from all angles. When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war," Assad said in a speech broadcast on Syrian television.

Scores of Syrian people have been killed in the bloodshed despite international efforts to intervene and the deployment of United Nations monitors.

Western nations have repeatedly asked Assad to step down, while Russia and China continue to back the regime.

The West "takes and never gives and this has been proven at every stage", he said, adding: "We want good relations with all countries but we must know where our interests lie."

Assad delivered his speech after the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the deaths of more than another 100 people, most of whom were believed to be civilians, according to the Guardian.

UN monitors in Syria have halted their operations as a result of the increasing violence.

Syria is also facing hostility from its neighbour Turkey after downing one of its fighter jets. Turkey has raised its warning against Syria since the attack was condemned by Nato, of which it is a member state.

"Our rational response should not be perceived as weakness, our mild manners do not mean we are a tame lamb. Everybody should know that Turkey's wrath is just as strong and devastating as its friendship is valuable," Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan said.

He also announced that the country had raised its military preparedness level and changed its military rules of engagement, following which any Syrian troops approaching Turkey's border would be dealt with as a military threat.