Six elite military pilots have been killed in an ambush in the restive Homs province of Syria, the country’s military has said.
In a rare TV statement, the armed forces confirmed the deaths which occured on Thursday, marking a dangerous escalation in violence.
International pressure has been mounting on Syrian president Bashar Assad to curb violence, but the statement warned that the army will “hit back” at any attempt to cause chaos.
The death come as Syria misses a deadline imposed by the Arab League to sign a deal allowing monitors into the country.
The League, which has expelled Syria, want observe if a plan to end bloodshed within the country is being carried out.