DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Syrian military on Monday to raise its readiness, pledging not to abandon support for Lebanese resistance against Israel.

In an annual address on the anniversary of the foundation of the Syria Arab Army, Assad called on the military to “work on more preparedness and raise readiness of all units.

“We are facing international circumstances and regional challenges that require caution, alertness, readiness and preparedness,” Assad said in the written address.

Diplomats in Damascus say the Syrian army has been on alert since the Israeli onslaught on Lebanon began on July 12 after Hizbollah fighters captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border operation.

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