SyriaSyria military launches Scud missiles at rebels
Facing growing political isolation, deteriorating economic conditions, and military setbacks, the Assad regime is escalating the level of violence in its war against the opposition; the three latest weapons the regime used in its effort to hold off the rebels: Scud missiles, cluster bombs, and incendiary munitions; yesterday, Pakistan became the 69th country to close its embassy in Damascus
In an escalation of the level of violence in the war in Syria, the Syrian military fired several Scud missiles at rebel forces on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Allied intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets have detected the launch of a number of unguided, short-range ballistic missiles inside Syria this week … Trajectory and distance travelled indicate they were Scud-type missiles,” the Guardian quotes a NATO official to say.
Speaking separately, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States has seen the use of incendiary barrel bombs in recent days. “As the regime becomes more and more desperate, we see it resorting to increased lethality and more vicious weapons moving forward,” she told a State Department briefing.
As more government recognize the opposition as the legitimate ruler of Syria, and as more governments close their embassies in Damascus (yesterday, Pakistan became the 69th country to close its embassy and withdraw its diplomatic staff from Syria), the Syrian government is facing an increasingly dire economic situation. The country’s GDP has shrunk by 20 percent since the beginning of the year, and inflation is now running at more that 40 percent. At current levels of expenditure, the government’s foreign currency reserves will run out in about ten months, even as Iranian planes keep bringing large quantities of cash from Iran in an effort to prop the Assad government.
The Assad government no longer spends any money providing basic services to the non-Alawite population – that is, about 85 percent of the Syrian population – directing its dwindling resources instead to paying the salaries of the military and security services personnel, and supporting Alawite communities.