Scuds? Why Syria May Be Using the Missiles
It could be a not-so-subtle warning about chemical weapons
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2012 5:16 PM CST
In this Dec. 11 photo, a Free Syrian Army fighter aims his weapon during heavy clashes with government forces in Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/Narciso Contreras)

(Newser) – The New York Times broke the news earlier today that Syria's Bashar al-Assad has fired Scud missiles at rebel positions in northern parts of the country. The White House sees it as a "serious escalation," and the Washington Post explains that Scuds are an odd choice: They're big, not that accurate, and more suited to attacks on foreign countries than on enemies within the border. So what's going on? Some theories from the above sources and from the Danger Room blog at Wired:

  • Chemical weapons: Scuds can be equipped with chemical warheads, and Assad might be sending a warning to rebels and to foreign nations that he's prepared to let them fly.
  • Desperation: Assad is losing and he knows it. He may be holding off on chemical weapons for now, but he's" throwing everything else he has against the rebels," writes Spencer Ackerman at Wired. "He’s even chucking naval mines onto dry land to attack his foes."

  • Rebels' air defenses: Assad could be worried that his planes will be shot down by shoulder-fired missiles, says University of Kentucky professor Robert Farley. Scuds are used for "surprise, or because you're concerned about enemy air defenses."

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Dec 13, 2012 2:19 PM CST
Assad is an evil man. The U.S., NATO, Turkey, the U.N. and the E.U. must invade Syria and remove Assad from power. It is high time that the world gets involved in Syria. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Dec 13, 2012 8:31 AM CST
WHY? --- Just maybe Assad wants to know if the Scuds still work after all those years of sitting useless. --- Let him rain all his Scuds with chemical weapons on all those who support his enemies, and turn their cities into graveyards. --- Don't make the mistake Qaddafi did, who went to his grave not firing one missile or Scud at NATO. --- Assad, don't go quietly, cause like Qaddafi, your already dead. --- FDR famously said, "If you have a reallybig stick, use it" or you'll lose it. ------- REALLY
Dec 12, 2012 9:25 PM CST
Obama STAY OUT OF IT!!!!