President Bashar al-Assad of Syria declared his country was at war as violent clashes erupted on Tuesday around Damascus.
“We live in a real state of war from all angles,” Mr Assad said in a speech broadcast on state television. “When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war.”
The Syrian leader made his comments – a markedly stronger acknowledgement of the seriousness of the conflict than in previous remarks – as Turkey warned Syria not to make any incursions into its territory, warning it would retaliate if it did so.
Turkey considered Syria a “clear and present danger”, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, said. But in his most complete remarks on Syria’s shooting-down of a Turkish jet last week, Mr Erdogan signalled his desire to avoid a military clash.
“We won’t be trapped into a war of provocation, but we won’t be silent and do nothing either,” he said on Tuesday as Nato issued a condemnation of its own. He added that Ankara would choose the place, time and manner of its response under international law.