NATO: Syrian forces firing more Scud missiles
The air defense missile system "Patriot" is presented on December 18, 2012 in Warbelow, northern Germany at a media day of air defense missile groups. The systems will be deployed soon to Turkey as part of a NATO operation.
December 21st, 2012
11:21 AM ET

NATO: Syrian forces firing more Scud missiles

By Barbara Starr, Ivan Watson and Saad Abedine

In an escalation of its civil war, Syria is firing more Scud missiles in a desperate attempt to quash rebel gains, the NATO chief said Friday.

The government has launched more missiles in recent days, according to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary-general of the alliance.

"I can confirm that we have detected the launch of Scud-type missiles," he said. "I consider it an act of a desperate regime approaching collapse."

Though the missiles have not hit Turkey, he said, the development highlights the need for a protection plan for the neighboring nation.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official told CNN on Friday that some Scuds had been fired from Damascus toward Aleppo early Thursday.

"As far as I know, (there were) four, (landing) around Aleppo and/or close to our border, but not in Turkey," said the official, who spoke on condition that he not be named because he is not authorized to speak on the record for military matters.

A NATO official told CNN that Syria had fired about half a dozen Scud-B missiles in the northern part of the country, one of which landed just 20 miles from the Turkish border.

The preliminary assessment is the Scud launches were aimed at rebel munitions storage sites, said the official, who has direct knowledge of the latest intelligence but declined to be identified because of its sensitivity.

Intelligence analysts believe the Syrian government now uses Scuds when the weather is bad and aircraft cannot launch ground attacks.

This is the first acknowledgment of new Scud launches since an initial volley was confirmed by U.S. officials earlier this month.

Using U.S. satellite imagery, along with U.S. and NATO radars and electronic signals intelligence, the United States and NATO can establish where the missiles were launched and where they landed.

The official declined to offer specifics on the launch and aim points of the latest attacks, because of the sensitive nature of the information.

But he said there was no indication the latest round of Scuds were armed with chemical munitions.

He did not know if there were any casualties, as all the missiles landed inside Syria.

The move is an escalation on the war, which has threatened to draw in neighboring countries and militant groups.

Analysts say the government of President Bashar al-Assad maintains up to 400 of the short- and medium-range Russian-developed Scud missiles.

NATO is in the final stages of preparing for a deployment of Patriot missiles from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands to Turkey for defense against Syrian Scuds that might threaten its neighbor.

Final site surveys are under way, and the deployment of six Patriot batteries in Turkey is expected to be completed by the end of January.

The Syrian civil war started in March 2011 when a government crackdown on civilian demonstrators morphed into a fight between the regime and rebels.

More than 40,000 people are estimated to have died in nearly two years of conflict.

Filed under: Syria
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. jonny

    who cares let them kill each other makes no diff to me,

    December 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  2. Ziad A. Fadel, Esq.

    It is amazing how your reporters fail to mention the deployment of Syrian Eskandar missiles which will turn your inaccurate Patriots into old salad in ten seconds. Death to Erdoghan and every Saudi ape that crawled on this planet.

    December 22, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Thank you, Ziad. I couldn't agree more! The right-wing news media is as always, trying to brainwash us over what's really going on in Syria!!!

      December 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  3. Dr. Evan E. Koslow

    SCUD-B missiles can not be used to target rebel ammunition storage or just about any other military asset held by the rebels unless that asset is the size of an airfield. The SCUD-B had a "circle or equal probability) of 0.6 miles, which means that the missile has an equal chance of falling into or out of the target circle of 0.6 miles. Hence, unless the rebels are storing ammunition at a facility that stretches for roughly half-a-mile, the SCUD-B has little chance of hitting it. For a point target, it is useless, I would like to propose that the SCUD-B missiles are old, available, and useful for terrorizing the population of distant cities, but are fairly useless for military purposes unless they are used against airfields. Targeting rebel ammunition is totally impossible and the reporter should question such nonsense.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      It would be actually interesting to know what they are actually hitting with these Scuds. CNN/Western media report only Scud launches citing US/NATO capabilities to detect these launched, but do not say where these Scuds are headed to. I presume that Syrian Army generals know the capabilities and limitations of Scud as well, and I presume that these generals are not so helplessly stupid. far as using it as a weapon of terror against a populated area, it is not a good choice either: it is a single monoblock warhead which would make a decent crater, but its kill radius is very limited making it less efficient terror weapon than even Grad missiles fired in salvo.

      December 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      ...also this CEP of 0.6 miles sometimes reported in Western media implies that Scud is fired to its maximum range.

      Obviously these Scuds fly within Syrian territory, so it is not the maximum range. As shorter ranges Scud may be much more accurate.

      ... besides the 0.6 miles originates from Soviet specification 1km along with the 1000km range dated back in 195x when the very first version of Scud was introduced, and both figures were "estimates" from intelligence data and "expert opinions" , since the actual capabilities were always kept secret.

      December 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  4. Ger republikins

    whear kin i git mii sum uv does scud mizzles? wii ned 2 bi sum b4 da demokrates wunt 2 mayk dem ileegl 2. wii ned 2 bi scudz 2 pertek uz republikins frum u demokrates. u demokrates unly wunt 2 tayk awhey r gunz n jezuz 2. u demokrates unly wunt 2 raz taxiz fer skools 2. wii kin be hom skoold lyk uz dun sowt. iffin u raz mi taxiz i wunt bii abel 2 bi mi usd dubl wyd traler i ben havin mi i un. ger republikins!!!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply

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