Clashes in Damascus as former envoy warns of chemical arms use
Syrian rebels announced Monday the launch of an "extensive" operation in Damascus vowing the revolt against the regime would experience a turning point, with heavy fighting in the Syrian capital. "The volcano and earthquake of Damascus" that's the name the Syrian rebels have given to their "large" operation. The rebels plan to systematically deal with all security checkpoints in the country, cutting the main roads in order to paralyze the military regime and call for the defection of more officers and soldiers.
This is "the first strategic step to bring Syria into a state of complete and total civil disobedience," said a statement signed by the free Syrian Army's Joint Command.
Last night, heavy fighting raged in the heart of Damascus, hitherto regarded as an impregnable bastion of power. The rebels claim control of two districts: Midane and Tadamoun, in the south and east of the Syrian capital. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported Monday that tanks and troop carriers were deployed for the first time in Midane. Local residents reported the presence of snipers on the roofs.
In London, the former Syrian ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares, who defected on July 11, warned that President Assad could use chemical weapons against opposition forces to stay in power.