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Entries in Scud Missiles (5)


Syria Snap Analysis: Latest on the "Chemical Weapon" Attacks

Two competing stories have featured in the last 48 hours over Tuesday's "chemical attacks" near Aleppo and Damascus. The first is a statement posted yesterday from the Syrian opposition in which they claim that Echothiophate, a chemical often found in insecticides, was used in both incidents, having been delivered by a Scud missile.

The second narrative, from US officials, is that there was no chemical weapons attack.

Echothiophate is an organophosphate. According to a physician contacted by EA, its effects match some of the symptoms reported from a doctor in Damascus, including bradycardia, vasodilation, nausea and vomiting, and bronchoconstriction. It is a slower-acting compound than some other nerve agents, like Sarin. It is unclear if there are additional symptoms, like involuntary muscle movements, that have been seen in these videos.

Some have suggested that the chemical smells like "rotten cabbage." That is important because people in the Damascus atttack reported a strong odour, albeit one like chlorine.

Here's the video, with English subtitles, where the doctor in Damascus reports that an organophosphate has been used:

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Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Capture Symbolic "Nuclear" Site

2319 GMT: More Fighting in Damascus. It's late, past 1 AM in in Syria, but there are still fresh reports of explosions and gunfire there tonight. This video was reportedly taken in Baramkeh, in west-central Damascus, not far from Tishreen and the heart of the Assad regime (map):

2303 GMT: Surface-to-Surface Missiles. Tonight there are reports that more "Scuds" have launched from the regime's 155th Brigade base in Quteifeh, northeast of Damascus (map). Last week, when there were similar reports, dozens died in Aleppo province when several missiles hit residential areas, crumbling buildings and trapping residents. Those rockets fell on areas just north of Aleppo's airport, an airport that was reportedly being overrun by rebels. Today the airport was once again under attack. No word yet what was targeted by these latest strikes, however.

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Syria Live Coverage: Regime Fires SCUD Missiles on Aleppo?

1934 GMT: Explosions - a Universal Experience. From western Damascus to the eastern suburbs, as well as in the southern districts of the capital, heavy shelling is reported in every corner of Damascus. Across Daraa and Idlib provinces, similar patterns can be seen. It's anecdotal evidence, but it seems that the amount of firepower pounding Syria's cities is even more brutal than on a typical day.

The death toll, which is still rising, reflects this. The LCC now reports that 142 people have been killed nationwide. Even though some of these people were killed last night in Aleppo, this still marks an escalated death toll, and when the total number of those killed in the reported Scud missile attack are counted, the full fury of this violence is evident. Here is the distribution of casualties according to the latest report from the LCC:

fifty one martyrs in Aleppo, most of them were uncovered from the Badrou district masscare yesterday, fifty eight martyrs in Damascus and its suburbs, eleven martyrs in Idlib most of them in Shaghar town, nine martyrs in Homs, five martyrs in Hama, three martyrs in Deir Ezzor, three martyrs in Raqqa, and two martyrs in Daraa.

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Syria Analysis: Why Assad's Use of SCUD Missiles is Really Important

Cluster bomb and bomblets in Deir al-Asafir on November 27th. This air raid reportedly killed 11 children and wounded others.

See also Friday's Syria Live Coverage: Russia Gives Up on Assad

Assad is using SCUD missiles. The evidence is overwhelming. However, the use of SCUDs, a Cold-War era ballistic missile, is both more important, and less important, than the media and the world leaders are making it out to be.

It is the cumulative use of ballistic missiles, Grad rockets, naval mines, and other strange munitions are important. They signal that Assad has used every weapon left in his arsenal (almost), and is running out of resources almost as fast as he is running out of ideas. The use of these weapons proves that the regime is ready to use inefficient weapons against both insurgents and civilians instead of negotiating an escape and ending this bloody war.

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Syria Live Coverage: "Assad Forces Using Scud Missiles"

State TV footage from today's bomb in Qatana, which reportedly killed 16 people (see 1015 GMT)

See also Syria Analysis: Was There a "Massacre" in Aqrab on Tuesday?
Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Stumbling Towards a Referendum
Wednesday's Syria Live Coverage: Uncertainty Over the Mass Killing in Aqrab

1556 GMT: The Local Coordination Committees claim that 81 people have been killed today, including 41 in Damascus and its suburbs.

1512 GMT: The Foreign Ministry has denied claims that the regime is using Scud missiles.

The Ministry claims the allegation is a conspiracy by "Turkey and its partners", with the aim of distorting Syria's image and position in the international community. It said that it is well-known that Scud missiles are strategic long-range missiles and are not used when facing "armed terrorist gangs".

However, AFP, citing a defected First Lieutenant, reinforces the claim that Scuds were fired on Monday.

First Lieutenant Aaraba Idriss said he is still in contact with officers and members of his former Battalion 57, part of Brigade 155. He said they had fired five Scud missiles from their location in Nasiriyeh on the highway between Damascus and the central Syrian city of Homs.

Idriss, who now heads the Hassan Battalion of the insurgent Free Syrian Army, said "the missiles were fired northwest at 10:45 (0845 GMT), 12:30, 13:50, 15:15 and 17:10" and may have struck in Aleppo Province or Idlib Province.

Idriss said the "Golan-1" missiles were either Russian-made or Russian-modified" and have a range of up to 300 kilometres (186 miles).

AFP writes that a soldier, who defected on Tuesday morning, corroborated the report.

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