Fri, 30 Aug 2013 08:45:00 GMT | By Reuters

Syrian army moves Scud missiles to avoid strike

Scud missiles and dozens of launchers were removed from one of Syria's most heavily militarised districts

Missiles, troops gone

Assad's forces appeared already by Wednesday to have evacuated most personnel from army and security command headquarters in central Damascus, residents and opposition sources in the capital said.

In the Qalamoun area, an activist calling himself Amer al-Qalamouni told Reuters by telephone: "Most of the personnel in the base appear to have left.

He added that trailer trucks loaded with military equipment were also seen on the Damascus ring road to the south: "Either the hardware is being transported to be stored elsewhere or it will remain constantly on the move to avoid being hit," he said.

Captain Firas Bitar of the Tahriri al-Sham rebel force, who is from the Qalamoun area but is based in a Damascus suburb, said two other missile units based near the 155th in the districts of Qutaifa and Nasiriya were also moving rockets out.

He said they could be move northwest to loyalist strongholds near Homs or further into the coastal mountain heartland of Assad's minority Alawite sect.

Opposition sources also suspected the evacuation of another missile unit based in Sahya, just south of Damascus.

"The Sahya barracks have been hitting the southern suburbs with rockets and artillery non-stop," said rebel commander Abu Ayham of the Ansar al-Islam brigade. "Since yesterday, nothing has been fired from the camp, suggesting it has been emptied."

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