Syria fires Scud missiles on its own people

Syria's regime has fired at least six Scud missiles on rebels, dramatically escalating the conflict.

Syria’s regime has fired at least six Scud ballistic missiles on its own people since Monday in a significant escalation that means it has used every weapon in its arsenal short of chemical weapons.

US officials said the regime had used the weapons to target “rebels hiding in playgrounds”.

British officals said intelligence reports indicated that the regime first fired a Scud missile on Monday and the firing has continued.

“The trajectory and distance travelled suggest these were Scud-type missiles,” a spokesman said.

“We condemn this in strongest possible terms that demonstrates the appalling brutality of the regime and its desperation to go to any lengths to deny his people their legitimate aspiration.”

The news emerged as 114 countries held a summit in Morroco to recognise a new Syrian opposition coalition. The US has also has declared the coalition is the “legitimate representative” of the country’s people.

A blast went off at the Syrian Interior Ministry in Damascus on Wednesday. There was no confirmation of casualties.

The conflict started nearly 21 months ago as an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled the country for four decades. It quickly morphed into a civil war, with rebels taking up arms to fight back against a bloody crackdown by the government.

According to activists, more than 40,000 people have been killed since March 2011.

The firing of Scud missiles is an ominous escalation in the conflict, not the least because it brings the threat of chemical weapons one step closer.

Western officials have raised concerns that the increasingly desperate president might unleash his chemical weapons stockpiles against rebels, saying that to do so would be crossing a “red line”.

Syria is believed to have a formidable arsenal of chemical weapons, including sarin and mustard gas, although its exact dimensions are not known. The country is not a signatory to the 1997 Convention on Chemical Weapons and thus is not obliged to permit international inspection.

The government in Damascus has been careful not to confirm it has chemical weapons, while insisting it would never use such weapons against its own people.


This is a copy of the full article provided by The Telegraph

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