“We’ve been clear that we have seen the regime in Syria use Scud missiles against its own people, and that continues,” a senior State Department official said.
American officials said that was no indication that the missiles were armed with chemical weapons. They had no information on possible casualties.
Contacts inside Syria said that one Scud attack took place on Thursday near Maara, a town in a rebel-held area north of Aleppo near the Turkish border. The missile appeared to have missed its target, and the initial accounts were that nobody was hurt. American officials, who have been monitoring Mr. Assad’s military actions via aerial surveillance and other methods, did not corroborate those details but disclosed that the Scud firings, which they first reported last week, had resumed.
“We know they’ve been firing Scuds and continue to fire them,” said a Defense Department official.
American officials said on Dec. 12 that the Syrian military had fired six Scud missiles at the Sheikh Suleiman base north of Aleppo, which rebel forces had occupied. It is unclear whether the Scuds, which are Soviet-era designed missiles not known for their precision, hit the intended target.
The Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, later issued a statement denying that Syria had used Scuds. It called the reports “untrue rumors.”
There appeared to a lull in the Scud firings after the first reports, but now the Syrian government is firing them again.
NATO recently approved the deployment of American, Dutch and Germany Patriot antimissile batteries to Turkey, a neighbor of Syria that has become one of Mr. Assad’s most ardent critics, to protect against a possible Syrian missile attack. The United States is sending two Patriot batteries and 400 troops to operate them.
Syria has several types of Scuds, including Scud-B systems that were provided by Russia and Scud-C’s and Scud-D’s that were developed with the assistance of Iran and North Korea, according to Joseph Holliday, an expert on Syria at the Institute for the Study of War, a nongovernmental research group.