Bashar al-Assad is a "wounded wolf and cornered," and hence is ready, and probably willing, to use his stash of chemical weapons, according to Nawaf Fares, Syria's ex-ambassador to Iraq and its highest-level official to defect so far. "There is information, unconfirmed information of course, that chemical weapons have been used partially in the city of Homs," Fares added in an interview with the BBC in Qatar. Fares also alleges that Assad has been working with al-Qaeda.
That would be an odd pairing, given that the regime is dominated by Allawites, not Sunnis. But "there is enough evidence in history that lots of enemies meet when their interests meet," Fares says. "Al-Qaeda is searching for space to move and means of support, the regime is looking for ways to terrorize the Syrian people." It's been effective at doing that so far; the UN says the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries has tripled since April, to 112,000, the AP reports. Meanwhile, the fighting continues to worsen in Damascus, notes the BBC, as Kofi Annan prepares to today meet with Vladimir Putin to talk about the situation.