Washington: Facing popular revolt, the authoritarian Assad regime of Syria has launched Scud missiles against the rebel-held target areas in the northern parts of the country, according to a media report.
The White House refrained from confirming it, but termed it as a desperate attempt; while the State Department noted that in recent days it has seen "missiles are deployed" by Assad regime, but would not go into the details of it.
Syrian military units loyal to the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, launched at least five Scud missiles from the Damascus area toward rebel target areas in the north, ABC news reported citing US officials, noting that this appears to be the first time that the Soviet-era short-to-medium-range missiles have been used against rebels in the two-year conflict.
According to another second official, three Scud missiles were launched early Monday at an area west of the northern city of Aleppo. An additional two missiles were fired later that afternoon, the news channel said.
"I cannot confirm this story. I have seen it. Nor can I discuss intelligence, as you know. But if true, this would be the latest desperate act from a regime that has shown utter disregard for innocent life, utter disregard for the lives of its own citizens," the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.
The idea that the Syrian regime would launch missiles within its borders at its own people is stunning, desperate, and a completely disproportionate military escalation, he observed.
"What is clear is that the regime's efforts to defeat militarily the opposition are failing. The opposition is becoming more unified, more organised. In fact, there is an international conference this week to further help the opposition as it organises and unifies, and the sooner that Assad goes the better it will be for the Syrian people," he said.
A day earlier the US President Barack Obama had announced his decision to recognise the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.