Scud Missile Installations Being Moved as Syria Plans for Attack
As western countries and the United Nations debate whether or not to militarily intervene in the over two-year-long Syrian civil war the forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad have moved several of their Scud missile launchers from near Damascus in anticipation of American cruise missile attacks, according to Reuters.
Sources told Reuters that the government was attempting a wider redeployment of the missiles but were unable to do so due to rebel raiding and fights blocking key roads.
The army's 155th Brigade was seen abandoning their base with more than two dozen Scud missiles. The Syrian National Coalition, the rebel group fighting al-Assad's government, suggested the base as one of many targets provided to western envoys, according to Reuters.
Rebel forces also told Reuters that they believe a base south of Damascus has been evacuated.
"The Sahya barracks have been hitting the southern suburbs with rockets and artillery non-stop," rebel commander Abu Ayham said. "Since yesterday, nothing has been fired from the camp, suggesting it had been emptied."
In addition to the reports of missiles being moved there have also been some Scud missiles fired within Syria. U.S. military satellites were able to confirm that four Scuds were fired from near Damascus into the northern part of the country coming very close to, but not crossing, the Turkish border, according to CNN.
Turkey has requested assistance in defending itself from possible Scud missile attacks from NATO; a Patriot missile defense battery is expected to be sent to Turkey, according to CNN.
"As the regime becomes more and more desperate, we see it resorting to increased lethality and more vicious weapons moving forward," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told CNN. "And we have in recent days seen missiles deployed."
It is still not known when, or if, western countries will even get involved in the conflict. British Prime Minister David Cameron had been one of the strongest advocates for intervention but after Parliament voted against becoming militarily involved it is unlikely Cameron will act on his own to order involvement. In the United States President Barack Obama is under a great deal of pressure to allow a Congressional vote to authorize military action in Syria.