In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 photo, a boy runs for cover after a mortar shell hit a street killing several people in the Bustan Al-Qasr district of Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Narciso Contreras)
BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO's top official says the Syrian military has continued to fire Scud-type missiles against anti-government forces, describing the move as the "acts of a desperate regime approaching collapse."
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday that the use of the medium-range rockets showed that NATO was justified in deciding to deploy several batteries of Patriot anti-missile systems in neighboring Turkey.
A week ago, U.S. and NATO officials said the Syrians had used the ground-to-ground rockets for the first time in the nearly two-year conflict. Damascus immediately denied the claims.
Syria is reported to have an array of artillery rockets, as well as medium-range missiles — some capable of carrying chemical warheads. These include Soviet-built SS-21 Scarabs and Scud-B missiles, originally designed to deliver nuclear warheads.
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