Pulling out all the stops in order to stay in power and beat back the rebels, Syrian President Bashar Assad has taken to launching his highly inaccurate, but devastating Scud missiles into civilian neighborhoods in Aleppo.
The United States condemned a Syrian army Scud missile attack that killed dozens of people on Friday in the city of Aleppo, and invited the Syrian opposition for talks on finding a negotiated settlement to the conflict.
A State Department statement said the attack on a district of Aleppo and other assaults such as strikes on city blocks and a field hospital were “the latest demonstrations of the Syrian regime’s ruthlessness and its lack of compassion for the Syrian people it claims to represent.”
The statement, released on Saturday, could help placate the main Syrian opposition grouping, which turned down invitations to visit Washington and Moscow to protest what it described as international silence over the destruction of the historic city of Aleppo by government missile strikes.
Almost two years since the start of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, rebels have wrested large swathes of Syria from the control of Assad’s forces but the areas remain the target of army artillery, air strikes and, increasingly, missiles.
The decision by the Syrian National Coalition to spurn the invitations and to suspend participation in the Friends of Syria conference of international powers has put peace initiatives on ice.
In the State Department statement, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington hoped to meet soon with the leadership of the opposition umbrella group “to discuss how the United States and other friends of the Syrian people can do more to help the Syrian people achieve the political transition that they demand and that they deserve.”
Invitations from Washington and Moscow had been extended to opposition coalition leader Mouz Alkhatib after he met the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers in Munich earlier this month.
The Scud is a terror weapon — not much good as a tactical weapon due to its inaccuracy. Its use only adds to the butcher bill and continues the destruction of one of the oldest cities in the world.
Assad continues to walk right up to the red line and dare the west to respond. It is thought that Assad possesses chemical weapon warheads that he can launch using his Scuds, but unless the end is near, he won’t consider it. At that point, he’d have nothing to lose.