December 19, 2012

Syrian prisoners confirm Scud use

Four Syrian army soldiers captured by the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) confirm that the Syrians have launched Scud missiles at opposition targets in the country. This video was posted on YouTube by the Free Syrian Army unit calling itself the al-Qalamun Volcano (burkan al-qalamun) Brigade.

The FSA captured these four soldiers of the Syrian army 51st [Missile] Battalion of the 155th [Missile] Brigade. The 155th Brigade is headquartered near the city of al-Quyafah, located at 33°44'23"N 36°35'53"E. There are large missile garrison areas just southwest of the city.

The soldiers gave their names when asked. When the interviewer asks who is responsible for missile operations, the prisoner second from the left provides the information. He responds with the name Staff Colonel 'Ali Yusif Hamudi, commander of the 51st Battalion, and brigade commander Ahmad Ghanam. When asked who else, the prisoner responded with the name Staff Colonel Dhahir Hadad, commander of the 78th [Missile] Battalion.

At time code 1:01, the prisoner said that they had fired seven missiles, five during the day and two at night. He confirmed that he had witnessed the launches, and that they were launched at Darat 'Azah (36°16'47"N 36°51'36"E) in the Aleppo Governorate.

Comment: Darat 'Azah has been the scene of intense fighting over the last week. It is adjacent to the garrison of the Syrian army's 111th Regiment at 36°15'35"N 36°53'38"E that was seized by elements of the FSA last week.