U.S. Concerned by Assad's Use of Iranian-Made Missiles
The United States is becoming increasingly worried about Syria’s use of ballistic missiles supplied by Iran, according to U.S. media reports cited by Al Arabiya.
The Wall Street Journal has quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that the Syrian regime recently fired four short-range Iranian-made ballistic missiles at sites of opposition fighters, raising concern that the embattled Assad maybe turning into more dangerous weapons.
“It certainly shows more aggressive action by the Syrian regime, aided by the Iranians,” a senior U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal.
The missiles are known as the Fateh-110 and are more precise than the Scud rockets currently used by the Assad’s regime. “It could be a sign of new tactics or desperation,” the official added.
He said U.S. intelligence agencies are evaluating the new missiles in terms of their precision and their scope of destruction.
Last week, two American officials told CNN that the Syrian regime had fired at least two of the Fateh missiles at Syrian rebels.
The Fateh trades range for accuracy. It can travel about 125 miles, while the Scud can go about 185 miles. But the Fateh has a "circular error probable" or - CEP - of 330 feet, while the Scud's CEP is 1,480 feet. CEP is defined as the radius of a circle in which half of a missile's lethal payload falls and is the standard measure of a missile's accuracy.
The Iranian government has not commented on the issue, but in the past it had confirmed sending troops to support President Bashar Al-Assad in his battle against rebels.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of the experienced officers to ensure that the Assad regime survives the threat to its survival.
In December, first reports emerged of Assad's forces using Scud missiles against the opposition fighter in what observers say was a sign of desperation in the face of an increasingly emboldened opposition force.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed the Syrian army's use of Scud-type missiles against rebels, saying it was an act of desperation.
"I can confirm that we have detected the launch of Scud-type missiles; we strongly regret that act," Rasmussen said. "I consider it an act of a desperate regime approaching collapse."