A Syrian missile killed more than 20 people in a rebel-held area of Syria on Tuesday. The country’s army is reportedly turning to longer-range weapons in the fight to keep control of Syria.
Rebels also landed three mortar bombs near the rarely-used presidential palace in Damascus, according to opposition activists.
Reuters reports that opposition activists say the missile was large and likely a Russian-made Scud. Similar weapons were used against a residential district in Aleppo after rebels captured army bases from which troops fired artillery.
The UN estimates that almost 70,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011. Casualties are being caused not only by missile strikes and direct contact, but also by disruption to infrastructure and the country’s economy.
Syria’s state run news agency, SANA, reported that “terrorists” fired the mortar rounds that hit close to the presidential palace’s southern wall. The government commonly refers to the opposition as terrorists.
Since Assad has three palaces in the city, it is not known if he was in Tishreen palace at the time of the attack. He typically only uses the palace to receive dignitaries. It is also a guest house for foreign dignitaries, notes The Boston Globe.
Tuesday’s strike was the first rebel attack on the presidential palaces that was acknowledged by the government. The Aleppo missile strike leveled buildings and left residents combing through the rubble for survivors.
The battle for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and economic center, has lasted seven months. The UN recently released a report saying that both sides have committed war crimes, including murder, torture, and hostage-taking. While some counts put the number killed at 20, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 31, including 14 children and five women.