Morning Brief: Syrian forces launch Scud missiles at rebels

From Foreign Policy Thu Dec 13 2012, 13:51:23

Syrian forces launch Scud missiles at rebels

Top news: The Syrian government has fired several short-range ballistic missiles at rebel forces in recent days, unnamed U.S. officials said Wednesday. U.S. military satellites were reportedly able to pick up the infrared signature of the missiles -- most likely North Korean-made Scuds -- which were fired into northern Syria from the capital. Without confirming the reports, White House spokesman Jay Carney called the development a "completely disproportionate military escalation."

Last week, NATO agreed to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems on the Turkish border in what was thought to be a largely symbolic gesture, but the use of longer-range weapons by Syrian forces will likely hasten preparations to get the batteries in place. In the next few days, CNN reports, the White House is expected to determine the number of Patriot systems and personnel to be sent to Turkey.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that Syrian forces have prepared chemical weapons so that they could be used at a "moment's notice." In August, President Obama warned that the movement or use of chemical weapons would be a "red line" for the United States, but the administration has since [view whole blog post ]

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