Assad Declares War, Protesters Call for Help

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced a "major military operation" against anti-government protesters, calling them the "terrorists who threaten us," The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

The report is based on a Thursday evening report in the Arabic-language al Quds newspaper.

Assad has now declared a state of war with a full mobilization of Syrian troops.

Troops have been tasked with the "elimination of [the] armed rebellion proclaimed by terrorist organizations against the civilian population and elements of the army and security forces for several months."

Meanwhile, anti-government protesters called on international human rights groups to send more observers to document the killing of civilians, al Jazeera reported.

Ahmad al-Khatib, spokesman for the Syrian Revolution General Commission, told Reuters the activists "are calling for international observers as a first step."

"If the regime refuses, it will open the door on itself for other actions, such as no-tank or no-fly zones," said al-Khatib, who put the number of civilian casualties at 3,000, with thousands more missing and in custody.

In an interview with al Jazeera aired on Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- once a close ally of Assad -- asked him, "Mr. Assad, how can you say you are killing terrorists when you were actually shelling Latakia from the sea and hitting civilian targets?"

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