Syria Douma damage 21 Dec 2012 2
Residents walk near damaged buildings at Douma near Damascus, Syria. Reuters

At a press conference on Friday NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed that that Syrian government was using Scud missiles against the rebels, and consequently on their own people.

"I can confirm that we have detected the launch of Scud-type missiles," Rasmussen said. "I consider it acts of [a] desperate regime approaching collapse."

This latest escalation is happening just weeks after NATO approved the deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey, and after world leaders were pre-emptively condemning Assad for suspected plans to employ chemical weapons.

Also on Friday at least seven more people were reported killed in attacks in the town al-Safira near Aleppo, al-Jazeera reported.

The opposition Free Syrian Army on Friday rejected an Iranian-proposed peace plan. The Iran government is a known supporter, politically and militarily, of the Assad regime.

“As the free forces of the Syrian people accomplish decisive political and military victories, the regime and its allies keep launching overdue political initiatives,” a spokesman for the Syrian opposition told Gulf News.

Meanwhile, Russia, once Assad's staunchest ally, has begun to pull back rhetorically. At a press conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was "not concerned about the fate of Assad's regime. We understand what is going on there."

On Friday, Putin said Russia, which had previously blocked all U.N. Security Council Resolutions against Syria, told reporters Russia was "looking forward to a democratic regime in Syria."

"We wouldn't like chaos in that country. Everyone is interested in stopping the violence and bloodshed. We do not advocate [for] the government of Syria."