The agency also said on Wednesday security forces had unearthed a bomb-making factory in the northern province of Aleppo, the site of recent clashes with security forces.

"The security forces in charge of fighting terrorism have discovered during their latest operations against Takfirist terrorists several arms and explosives caches in various places in Aleppo province and the suburbs of Damascus."

SANA said that among the objects discovered were "automatic rifles, anti-tank missile launchers, revolvers, bombs, explosive materials, explosives belts as well as personal documents and Takfirist propaganda."

"These arms came into Syria from Lebanon and they were seized during an attempt to send them back into Lebanon following police intervention," it said.

Laboatory in Aleppo

It also said the security forces found a laboratory for making explosives in Aleppo province.

SANA said the laboratory contained "all that is necessary for making explosive materials as well as training terrorists for attacks against public places, government buildings and security services offices".

Syria says a laboratory was
discovered in Aleppo province

Five people were wounded in clashes between security forces and "a terrorist group" in Aleppo on Sunday, after a confrontation last week in which two fighters were killed, SANA reported at the time.

However on Wednesday it said that two people wounded and arrested on Sunday who were part of a "terrorist group" died after admitting that they were planning burglaries to finance their operations.

Documents seized

"Anti-riot police seized documents and seriously wounded two of the group's members who died after confessing that the group had the intention of contacting a similar group active in one of Syria's neighbours."

The group was not identified, but Syrian authorities have reported a number of clashes in recent months with the Jund al-Sham group which Damascus labels a "terrorist organisation".

The organisation allegedly surfaced in March when an Internet statement was posted in its name claiming responsibility for a bombing at a theatre in Qatar that killed a Briton.

The secular Baath party has been ruling Syria for more than four decades and all Islamist groups are banned.

The mainstream Muslim Brotherhood has been proscribed on pain of death since 1980.