Assad says Syria can confront Israeli attacks

BEIRUT Tue May 7, 2013 9:30pm BST

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in Damascus May 7, 2013, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in Damascus May 7, 2013, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. SANA/Handout via Reuters

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday his country was able to confront Israeli aggression, Lebanese media reported, in the leader's first comments since the Jewish state launched a series of air strikes on military sites in Damascus.

"The recent Israeli aggressions expose the size of the complicity between the Israeli occupation, regional countries and the West in backing the current events in Syria," Assad was quoted as saying by the pro-Syrian news channel Manar TV.

"The Syrian people and their heroic army ... are capable of confronting this Israeli adventure, which represents one of the faces of terrorism that is targeting Syria every day."

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Alison Williams)