DAY 500 - JULY 28, 2012
The UN declares the Syrian conflict "a full-scale civil war" and suspends its monitoring mission because of attacks against its general inspectors. The decision by the United Nations coupled with increased instability in the region, goads Russia to station two warships near its base in Tartous, Syria. Additionally, Russian and China, for a third time, veto a UN resolution plan. Syria's ambassadors to Iraq and Cyprus both defect and the New York Times reports that Assad has moved a stockpile of chemical weapons, of which he has one of the largest in the world, out of storage. There is a fear within the international community that the Syrian government may use the weapons in an act of desperation.
You and Jeremy are deeply saddened by Michael's death. You thought, of all people, Michael was one of the most invincible you had ever met. It is a serious wake up call. You now understand that the Assad regime is bombing indiscriminately, women and children non-exempt. Much has changed in the past several weeks in Aleppo. There has been a massive siege by nearly 20 rebel brigades, about 6,000 soldiers, which started in the city two weeks ago. Rebel factions like Liwa Al Tawhid and Jabhat Al Nusra have spearheaded the assault and are currently entrenched by the gates of the Old City, one of the United Nations World heritage sites. Reinforcements continue to arrive on both sides as heavy fighting perpetuates day and night. You are beginning to wonder what, if any, exit strategy might still work. However, your DIY weapons article has gotten massive pickup by news agencies and wire services around the world. The affirmation makes you want to stay, even though you know you shouldn't.