BRUSSELS Dec 21 President Bashar al-Assad's
military has fired more Scud-type missiles inside Syria, NATO
officials said on Friday, more than a week after the Western
alliance first detected such arms being used on rebel targets.
"I can confirm that we have detected the launch of Scud-type
missiles. We strongly regret that act," NATO chief Anders Fogh
Rasmussen said, calling the launches "acts of a desperate regime
A NATO source said there had been multiple launches of
Scud-type missiles inside Syria on Thursday morning.
Rasmussen used the Scud launches to justify NATO's decision
to dispatch Patriot anti-missile systems to NATO ally Turkey - a
deployment criticised by Syria, Iran and Russia.
"The fact that such missiles are used in Syria emphasises
the need for effective defence protection of our ally Turkey,"
he told reporters after talks at NATO headquarters with Djibouti
Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita.
"The recent launch of missiles has not hit Turkish territory
but of course there is a potential threat and this is exactly
the reason why NATO allies decided to deploy Patriot missiles in
Turkey, for a defensive purpose only," he said.