In a rare television statement, the armed forces confirmed the deaths which occurred on Thursday, marking a dangerous escalation in violence.
It said the "terrorist" attack was proof there was foreign involvement in the eight-month revolt against President Bashar al Assad's rule.
"An armed terrorist group undertook an evil assassination plot that martyred six pilots, a technical officer and three other personnel on an air force base between Homs and Palmyra," the military spokesman said on state television.
International pressure has been mounting on President Assad to curb violence, but the statement warned that the army will "hit back" at any attempt to cause chaos.
The deaths come as Syria misses a deadline imposed by the Arab League to sign a deal allowing monitors into the country. Read More