Scuds pummel Syrian rebel positions
[Beirut Daily Star] Syria's rebels stepped up attacks on strategic sites including a sprawling military complex in the country's north Friday, while reports emerged that Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad
Terror of Aleppo's
...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins...

forces fired scud missiles at rebel areas for the second time.

Also Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin
...Second President of the Russian Federation and the first to remain sober. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits he is the current Prime Minister of Russia. His sock puppet, Dmitry Medvedev, was installed in the 2008 presidential elections. Putin is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing something like the rule of law. During his eight years in office Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase, poverty decrease and average monthly salaries increase. During his presidency Putin passed into law a series of fundamental reforms, including a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes. Under Putin, a new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy has emerged, all of whom have close personal ties to Putin. The old bunch, without close personal ties to Putin, are in jail or in exile...
told European leaders Russia did not seek to protect Assad but that only a negotiated solution could end the conflict and prevent chaos -- an outcome that is looking increasingly unlikely.

...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A cautionary tale of cost-benefit analysis....
chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Syrian army's use of Scud-type missiles against rebels was a sign that the regime was approaching collapse.

"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."

The latest launches were detected Thursday, a source close to NATO said. One of the Scuds apparently hit the rebel town of Marea, near Aleppo.

It was the second reported use of Scuds, 21 months into an anti-government uprising that opposition monitors say has claimed more than 44,000 lives.

U.S. and NATO officials first reported Syria's use of Scud missiles one week ago, prompting a swift denial from the Syrian government.
Posted by: Fred 2012-12-22