NATO: Syrian regime fires Scud-style missiles at rebels

The Syrian regime has fired Scud-style missiles at rebels, NATO says, as Russia warns of the risk of chaos in Syria and Palestinians forced to flee their Damascus camp return.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the Syrian army's use of missiles against rebels an act of desperation.

"I can confirm that we have detected the launch of Scud-type missiles; we strongly regret that act," he said.

"I consider it an act of a desperate regime approaching collapse."

The latest launches were detected on Thursday, a source close to NATO said, and that was corroborated by an activist in the rebel-held town of Marea in the northern province of Aleppo.

Abu Hisham told AFP he had awakened to "the sound of a very loud explosion".

"The first missile fell outside Marea," he said.

"Had it hit the town it would have caused a massacre."

In Damascus, Palestinian refugees streamed back to the Yarmuk camp after a reported deal to keep it out of the conflict, following fierce clashes earlier this week and briefly on Friday.

The fighting forced about 100,000 of Yarmuk's 150,000-strong population to flee, with many taking refuge in Damascus parks and squares, said the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.

Hours after they returned on Friday, fighting again flared in the camp for about an hour and a half, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The fighting pitted anti-regime Syrian and Palestinian rebels against members of the pro-regime popular committees," said observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

Elsewhere, violence raged in flashpoints across Syria, with the Britain-based monitor saying at least 82 people were killed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow does not want "chaos" in Syria and that it looked forward to seeing a democratic regime there.

"We will try to pursue the public order in Syria and look forward to a democratic regime in Syria because this country is close to our borders," he said at a news conference at an EU summit in Brussels.

"We wouldn't like chaos in that country."

- AFP

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