Syria threatened on Sunday to retaliate against any country that formally recognizes a recently established opposition National Council seeking international support for the six-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The formation of the council has been welcomed by Assad's Western critics, including the United States and France, however they have not embraced it diplomatically as they did the Libyan rebels who subsequently overthrew Muammar Gaddafi.
"We will take tough measures against any state which recognizes this illegitimate council," Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told a news conference in Damascus.
Speaking alongside a group of Latin American ministers who visited Syria to show support for Assad, Moualem also dismissed Turkish criticism of Assad's crackdown and said no one should think the West would launch military action against Syria.
"The West will not attack Syria because no one will pay the bill," he said. "The West chose economic sanctions to starve our people, under the pretext of protecting human rights."
The UN says 2,900 people have been killed in Assad's crackdown on mainly peaceful protests. On Saturday, activists said security forces killed at least two people when they opened fire on tens of thousands of mourners at the funeral of a Kurdish opposition figure.
Moualem described Mishaal al-Tammo as a martyr killed by terrorists, suggesting he was targeted because he opposed foreign intervention in Syria.