Syrian Military Fired Scud Missiles At Rebels, U.S. Official Says | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Syrian Military Fired Scud Missiles At Rebels, U.S. Official Says

The Syrian military fired Scud missiles at rebel forces this week, launching them from near the capital Damascus and targeting opposition fighters in the north of the country, Pentagon sources tell NPR's Tom Bowman.

The development comes at a time when the fighting has been intensifying and the rebels appear to be gaining momentum in a nearly two-year-old battle against President Bashar Assad.

The Syrian military has frequently employed fighter jets and attack helicopters against rebel strongholds. But there have been no previous reports of Scud missile attacks. Scuds are known for their long range and substantial power, though they are not considered very accurate.

The Pentagon source says several missiles were fired Monday. There was no information on casualties.

A Syrian opposition group, the Local Coordination Committees, made mention of a Scud attack on Monday on its Facebook page, but the episode did not receive widespread attention until The New York Times reported it Wednesday.

It was not clear why the Syrian military would opt for Scud missiles when it can still carry out airstrikes and other attacks of equal or even greater intensity.

But as the Times reported:

"Military experts said the Assad government's use of Scuds might reflect worries that its aircraft have been vulnerable to rebel air defenses. In recent weeks, rebel forces have captured Syrian military bases, seized air-defense weapons and used some of them to fire at Syria warplanes. But one expert said that the government may have decided to use large missiles in order to wipe out military bases — and the arsenals they hold — that had been taken over by the opposition."

In another development Wednesday, more than 100 countries gathered in Morocco to recognize the recently formed Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

President Obama said the U.S. would recognize the opposition in an interview broadcast Tuesday.

NPR's Kelly McEvers is in Marrakech covering the meeting and says that one debate focuses on how quickly the coalition should form a transitional government that could replace the Assad regime if it falls.

One speaker, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davatoglu, said: "Time is of the essence. What we need is now tangible action, not only initiatives or new efforts, but tangible actions to stop this oppression and the pains of the Syrian people."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

At-Risk Salvadoran Youth Make Their Orchestral Debut At Kennedy Center

A youth symphonic orchestra and choir from a high-crime community in El Salvador made their American debut Monday with a performance at The Kennedy Center.
NPR

Tyson Foods To Stop Giving Chickens Antibiotics Used By Humans

Antibiotic use is falling out of fashion in the poultry industry. Tyson Foods, the biggest poultry producer in the U.S., says it will stop feeding its birds antibiotics used by humans in two years.
NPR

Record Number Of Amicus Briefs Filed In Same-Sex-Marriage Cases

This week's same-sex-marriage cases at the Supreme Court brought in a record number of friend-of-the–court briefs. But truth be told, the justices do not read all of these briefs.
NPR

Report: To Aid Combat, Russia Wages Cyberwar Against Ukraine

Cyberwarfare is a hidden world with few documented examples. In a new report, security researchers detail digital attacks against Ukraine's military, and charge the Russian military as the hacker.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.