December 12th, 2012
05:14 PM ET

U.S. official: Syria uses Scud missiles against rebels

By Barbara Starr, Jill Dougherty and Mike Mount

American military satellites picked up and confirmed the infrared signature of four short-range Scud missiles launched from the Damascus area to northern Syria in the past several days, a U.S. official said.

The missiles did not land on the Turkish side of the border but "came close," he said.

The Defense Support Program satellites are programmed to pick up the infrared signature of a man made or natural event.

The official could not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

While not confirming specifics, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Syrian regime is using more lethal weapons.

"As the regime becomes more and more desperate, we see it resorting to increased lethality and more vicious weapons moving forward and we have in recent days seen missiles deployed," Nuland said.

Syria rejects foreign recognition of opposition coalition

 

Earlier this month, a U.S. official said the Syrian regime was "ratcheting things up," noting its forces fired nearly 20 rockets with a relatively long range of 60 miles, which it had not done before.

The use of Scuds would be a further escalation of the offensive posture. Experts said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has up to 400 short and medium-range Russian-developed missiles.

As the Syrian military uses weapons with increased range and lethality, NATO is preparing to send a Patriot missile defense system to neighboring Turkey. Turkey made the request, which was agreed to last week.

Within a number of days, the Obama administration is expected to issue orders determining the number of Patriot missile batteries and personnel to be sent by the United States, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and NATO have endorsed the plan.

The escalation involving Scuds comes as the United States said another concern, indications the Syrian military was preparing chemical weapons for possible use, had ebbed some since the intelligence was revealed and various world leaders warned Syria against their use.

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Panetta told CNN's Erin Burnett that the United States is closely watching what the Syrian government is doing with its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons (CBW).

"We've been in very close collaboration with adjoining countries - Turkey, Jordan, Israel - all very concerned that CBW doesn't fall into the wrong hands. ... We are monitoring it as best we can," Panetta said in an interview to be aired Wednesday night on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

"I can't say that this is 100%, but we usually have pretty good intelligence about some of the things that are happening," Panetta said.

He said the United States would know if Syria decides to use its chemical stockpiles.

Separately, the State Department said al-Assad's forces started using so-called "barrel bombs," an incendiary explosive with flammable material.

"It's sort of a napalm-like thing and it's completely indiscriminate in terms of civilians," Nuland said.

Human Rights Watch said such weapons produce extremely painful burns, often down to the bone, which are very hard to treat. The group said there have been four locations where incendiary weapons have been used since mid-November.

An afternoon with a Syrian bombmaker

 

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Jones sabo as shopping wheeled as well as , jenkin

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    April 15, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  2. DFGJDGJRTYUK

    NOW IS NOT THE TIME...BUT AS IN ANYTHING SUBJECT TO CHANGE ON A MOMENTS NOTICE.

    December 14, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
  3. DFGJDGJRTYUK

    YOU DID NOT KNOW THIS WOULD HAPPEN & WHY DONT THE MEN OF ACTION UNDERSTAND SEEMS TO BE THE QUESTION BEING ASKED HERE...I SAY TO YOU ALWAYS BE READY IS THE MOTTO

    December 14, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  4. david clements

    actions always speak louder than words, especially when the words are obviously crap at best.

    December 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  5. delta435

    The world's men of action will look on, and ask; "How did it come to this?"

    December 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  6. bvxdhuhfthj

    I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE I WILL SAY IT AGAIN: LEAVE GOD OUT OF IT SATAN LIVES WHAT ONE MAN CAN DO ANOTHER CAN DO WAR IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN POLITICS & DIPLOMACY FAIL NO PERSON DOES ANYTHING THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE FREE WILL BE FREE ORGANIZING ANYTHING IS ALWAYS WORK EVERY PERSON HAS A PURPOSE BUT IF NO ONE IS READY TO BE A REPLACEMENT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL WITHIN THE SYSTEM THE CAUSE & PEACE IS DELAYED PEACE IS ALWAYS POSIBLE BUT NEVER EASY AND SHOULD ALWAYS BE A GOAL BUT IT WILL NEVER THE ONLY ONE THERE ARE ABSOLUTES BUT NOT ALWAYS

    December 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
    • delta435

      CAPS LOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      BOLD WORDS

      December 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  7. Rizzo

    I enjoy reading some people thinking we are unprepared and lack capabilities to defend against countries like North Korea. You people are like Mets fans in the pre-season talking about the Yankees.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply
    • gab

      lol can of true, These people are getting murdered while the world worries about Israel building homes...... Help the Syrians out a women- a mother- was just murdered on tv yet the arabs in the world do nothing

      December 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  8. Matt

    Assad needs to go... His own military is turning against him to help the rebels.... STAND DOWN moron or we are gonna do it for you with enough time! these middle eastern leaders need to get with the program and stop trying to dictate countries for 20 + years.....although on the flip side... Assad is the only leader left in the middle east besides netanyahu who is not a terrorist or have terrorist ties.... so i see both sides of it really.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
  9. Matt

    Regardless if ASSAD crosses the line. I still feel confident that in 24 hours he will no longer have any hold in syria.... so he needs to watch his p's and q's.... any leader that wouldnt jus standdown and shell his own people with scud missiles deserves everything thats coming.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply
  10. Matt

    there is a reason thes people are rebelling. This clown has been in power for 30 years and has opressed his people and ruled with an Iron fist. he thinks he has "real military" rick....... just wait till he crosses the line that our government has drawn. he will see a "REAL MILITARY"

    December 13, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  11. Matt

    Regardless Assad should not be using these weapons against his own people. Just like here for example.... people want him gone... just stand down. people in the u.s. dont always agree with what presidential candidate we get... but we dea withl it. Same thing he needs to do. realize he is no longer a legitimate leader now that he has been shelling his own people for 21 months.... under barack obama we will do absolutely nothing but talk about out it for the next six months.... Justlike Iran.... Just like benghazi libya...... just like north korea.... wont do anything but terrify the american people through the media and continue to talk about it EVERY SINGLE DAY. but do nothing!

    December 13, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
  12. bezboz

    Syria should not waste a moment. Defeat those foreign killers and start building your country, already!

    December 13, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply
  13. Rick

    the LEGITIMATE government of Syria, fires missiles against terrorist rebels WITHIN Syria's borders.
    I don't see a problem here. The USA is just angry that Assad is bringing out the heavy stuff and the Rebels will be easily defeated the moment the real military is unleashed on the foreign fighters.

    December 13, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
  14. Booger

    Mix play dough with scrambled eggs and repeat for a firm consistency.

    December 13, 2012 at 9:09 am | Reply
  15. wjmccartan

    I think its time America sent in its secret weapon, John McCain and a couple of M-16's, he wipe the floor with those guys, oh yeah send Boehner in as back up and they can't lose.

    December 13, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  16. jorge washinsen

    You use what you got, I suppose.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:59 am | Reply
  17. Realityblows

    "a U.S. official said" Great! That is all the proof the media seems to need anymore. How about a legitimate name?

    December 13, 2012 at 8:58 am | Reply
  18. not bad

    lol, cnt post links :D
    world wide web breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/12/08/Shocking-Graphic-Video-Syrian-Rebels-Testing-Chem-Weapons-On-Rabbits-As-Warning-To-Civilians

    December 13, 2012 at 8:51 am | Reply
  19. not bad

    and there i was, thinking americans believe all this propaganda!
    Take it to the streets like we europeans do! Dont believe all this bs*it they are telling you.
    If we can protest against corrupt politicians so can you!

    December 13, 2012 at 8:36 am | Reply
    • jorge washinsen

      I seem to recall hearing ,that back in the thirties, someone listened enough to get the whole world in a world war in the early forties. Without the backing or the weapons to enforce his will no one can get it done. The majority rules and are responsible for their actions.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply
  20. Beavis

    I thought the rebels were terrorists.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply
    • not bad

      they are. Just today there are news of massacre 200-300 people of minority "alavites" to which asad belongs. And this is the opposition USA recognised. But double standards again, if asad did it it would be everywhere!

      December 13, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply
  21. angel

    Jesus Christ loves the sinner,but not the sin on the Cross,so God desires to save the sinner from the sin,but wars kill the sinner,and can't save the sinner from the sin,only the Cross and Gospel of Jesus Christ can save sinners from sin.So wars are a deception and a sin of Satan,who doesn't want Jesus Christ to save the sinner from his sin,because Satan hates man,and wants to be God.Satan even tempts men to play God,such as the final and worst antichrist,to put themselves in God's place,and the Bible says even now there are many antichrists,this is how we will know the final antichrist.He will be a warrior who deceives the world and makes war in God's name,putting himself in God's place,playing God taking God's power of life and death in war and killing the innocent along with guilty,which is the nature of war itself. God told Abraham,He doesn't kill the innocent along with the guilty,not even by mistake as wars do,God doesn't make mistakes,men do.Wars are of the sin of Genesis chapter 3,man believing he can be as God and know good and evil as God,but the Bible says nothing is equal to God,so man in wars kills both the good and the evil,when only the Cross and Gospel of Jesus Christ can save man from sin,this means nothing else,not wars.Wars can't save your body,it's destined to die,we all die,and wars can't save your soul,or even keep it from God's Kingdom,only God has that power,man doesn't,and all authority has been given to Jesus Christ regarding your Salvation in this life and in the life to come..

    December 13, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply
    • wjmccartan

      Listen there god boy or god girl, and by the way I'm surprised nobody else is responding to this, god has no place on the battlefields of man, as a matter of fact more people get killed in his name then anyone else. Although you stick to your scripture I know the guy that wrote it will be pleased that two thousand years later people still get taken in. Send in the Power Rangers and Captain America, they'll clear this mess up, and don't forget John McCain, what a minute maybe he's Captain America. What a clever disguise, crazy old man.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
  22. MazeAndBlue

    The red line is broken. Here we go again trying to secure the world from tyrants and murderous regimes. Duck!!

    December 13, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply
  23. vxstyhfgjbvf

    PEOPLE NEED TO RELIZE THAT YOU CANNOT ALWAYS HAVE IT BOTH WAYS

    December 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  24. vxstyhfgjbvf

    INFACT I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A WOULD BE TERRORIST NOT BECOME A MINI DICTATOR WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE BUT THAT CANNOT & WILL NOT HAPPEN BECAUSE A TERRORIST DOES NOT BELIVE IN MUCH OTHER THAN IMPOSSING VARIOUS FORMS OF DICTATORSHIP ON OTHERS

    December 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  25. vxstyhfgjbvf

    I WOULD LOVE TO SEE ANYONE ANYWHERE COMPLAIN ABOUT THERE GOV AND GET AWAY WITH IT IN THE ASSAD CULT

    December 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  26. vxstyhfgjbvf

    Star-Spangled Bullsh!t

    YOU LIE AND ARE FULL OF CRaP BUT YOU ARE DEAD WRONG THAT IS FOR SURE

    December 12, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  27. vxstyhfgjbvf

    ANYONE HERE THAT HAS ANY OTHER BRIGHT IDEAS NOW IS AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY TO COMPLAIN

    December 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  28. LordJesus

    Stop supporting terrorism in other countries

    December 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      The comments here clearly indicate the USA government does not listen to its citizens, only the the wealthy puppetmasters who have long term goals in Syria.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:38 am | Reply
  29. vxstyhfgjbvf

    I DONT KNOW THAT ASSAD IS A TERRORIST BUT HE IS A BRUTAL DICTATOR OF A FAILED STATE THAT HE LITTERLY INHERITED

    December 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      Syria won't know true dictatorship until the Muslim Brotherhood takes over. Epxect a million christian syrians to flee for their lives.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:11 am | Reply
  30. EVN

    @ Sean: Maybe a high school drop out would also have the sense to realize that the opposition to Assad is varied, and while some are affiliated with al queda, the majority are home grown opposition and rebels (including those who deserted his butchering military) who were created by Assad when he indiscriminately killed protesters and used military snipers and semi-private militias against the Syrian population. But I suppose you could be told that a hundred million times and it would still not fit in with your views, or those of Assad who also insists that the Syrians he is busy killing are terrorists, when the reality is that Assad is the terrorist.

    December 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  31. America mind your own business

    We need to mind our own damn business.Let them kill each other.No matter which side we decide to help they will still hate us when its all over.

    December 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
    • حبه

      Would you say the same if the shoe was on the other foot? Did we not receive help from France during the Revolutionary war? I know that was a long time ago and the situation is a wee bit different but I don't believe you realize that some of us have families over there. You wouldn't say "just let them kill themselves" if you did.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
  32. Samir

    So how much money are we gonna borrow from the Chinese for this?

    December 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  33. US Soldier

    We have no business in this matter. We care so much about this, but when just as many people die in Mexico from the cartels, we do nothing. It's not even a racist matter either as my own fiancee is the daughter of a LEGAL Mexican immigrant. Our priorities are so wrong. We fail to take care of our own backyard in the Americas and we instead focus on a part of the world that honestly should not matter to us. The more we poke and prod over there, the worse we make it. I served in Iraq and Afghanistan and I am disgusted with my government...utterly disgusted. At least i'll be free at last come next month when i'm out of the Army after 5 years. It was worth it for the college money and free housing for the next 4 years, but i'm somewhat jaded and bitter because of it....and partially disabled.

    December 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • حبه

      I appreciate your honesty, and what you have done for our country. And I agree with what you have said, I just don't like it. (not that you said it or anything, its just my husband is Syrian and so I have in-laws there)

      December 13, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
    • LTF

      I'm inclined to agree with you on that, friend. Our government send brave souls like you to risk your life in a country that hates us so my take on it mirrors your own; we need to stay the heck away from there because its none of our business. Our own poking and prodding has stirred the bee's nest, if you will.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  34. Sean

    For the million times these are not rubles they are terrorists, Islamist, Al Qaeda supporters, same people the US fights in Afghanistan most of them are not even Syrians. How many times we have to repeat this for the US to understand. A high school drop out would probably understand by now!!

    December 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • Star-Spangled Bullsh!t

      The US kills mostly civilians.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Reply
      • Jerry

        There are no civilians in a war; there's only your side and the enemy. Anyone not currently a combatant is either a potential combatant, a link in the supply chain, and/or a source of morale. If'n you ain't with us, you're agin us. Non-combatants absolutely are a legitimate target in a war, even though America now tries to claim otherwise. Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Dresden. Tokyo. Atlanta. THAT'S how war is supposed to be fought! Do anything and everything you must in order to win. Period.

        December 14, 2012 at 1:04 am |

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