US confirms Syria used Scud missiles

The Syrian regime has used Scud missiles against rebel forces trying to oust Bashar al-Assad, a US official said Wednesday night, signaling a dangerous escalation in the 21-month-old conflict.

"Scuds landed within Syria," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Earlier Wednesday an AFP journalist in northwestern Syria reported hearing several fierce explosions daily from up to 15 kilometers (10 miles) away.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said "we're seeing missiles employed now" but she refused to divulge intelligence on what type of missile.

But the US official speaking later said he could confirm a New York Times story that the regime was unleashing Scuds.

Nuland said Syria is also using another kind of "egregious weapon."

"It's kind of a barrel bomb, which is an incendiary bomb that contains flammable materials," she told journalists.

The Times, quoting anonymous US administration officials, said the Assad regime had fired around six Scud missiles from the Damascus area against rebels in northern Syria in recent days.

An AFP journalist in northwestern Idlib province said he had heard powerful explosions for the past three days coming from the direction of the Sheikh Suleiman army base captured by rebel groups at the beginning of the week.

by Michel Comte © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Dec 13, 2012