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This paper proposes a new method for the classification of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images based on a novel feature vector. The method aims at combining the intensity information of pixels with spatial information and structural relationships. Unlike classical approaches which define a static neighborhood via a rectangular moving window of predefined size and relate spatial information for each center pixel to all the pixels within that window, the local primitives (LPs) proposed in this study provide us with an adaptive neighborhood so that spatial information for each center pixel is extracted only from the related pixels in its neighborhood. LPs correspond to local homogeneous connected components that describe the pixel neighborhood more consistently than the fixed size window approach. A feature vector, called as the LP pattern (LPP), is constructed for each pixel. The feature vector includes information about the sizes, intensity levels, and contrast differences of LPs within a disk whose center is the pixel under consideration as well as the repetitive frequency of LPs outside that disk. Finally, a kernel-based support vector machine is used with the proposed feature vectors for the classification of SAR images. Experimental analysis presents that the new feature extraction technique is well suited to depict spatial information and structural relationships and it yields promising results for the classification of SAR images when compared to common features such as gray-level co-occurrence matrix and Gabor coefficients.