Syria "Scud-type" missile said to kill 20 in Aleppo

Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:05pm EST
 

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN (Reuters) - A Syrian missile killed at least 20 people in a rebel-held district of Aleppo on Tuesday, opposition activists said, as the army turns to longer-range weapons after losing bases in the country's second-largest city.

The use of what opposition activists said was a large missile of the same type as Russian-made Scuds against an Aleppo residential district came after rebels overran army bases over the past two months from which troops had fired artillery.

As the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, now a civil war, nears its two-year mark, rebels also landed three mortar bombs in the rarely-used presidential palace compound in the capital Damascus, opposition activists said on Tuesday.

The United Nations estimates 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict between largely Sunni Muslim rebels and Assad's supporters among his minority Alawite sect. An international diplomatic deadlock has prevented intervention, as the war worsens sectarian tensions throughout the Middle East.

A Russian official said on Tuesday that Moscow, which is a long-time ally of Damascus, would not immediately back U.N. investigators' calls for some Syrian leaders to face the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

Moscow has blocked three U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have increased pressure on Assad.

Casualties are not only being caused directly by fighting, but also by disruption to infrastructure and Syria's economy.

An estimated 2,500 people in a rebel-held area of northeastern Deir al-Zor province have been infected with typhoid, which causes diarrhea and can be fatal, due to drinking contaminated water from the Euphrates River, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.   Continued...

 
An excavator is used to search for survivors after a Syrian army rocket attack on the rebel-held Jabal Badro district in the city of Aleppo February 19, 2013. The attack killed at least 20 people and another 25 were missing, opposition activists said on Tuesday. The missile was identified from its remains as a Scud-type rocket that government forces have increasingly used in areas under opposition control in the province of Aleppo and in the province of Deir a-Zor to the east, they said. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib