1. ESCALATION

    West Aids Syrian Rebels With Arms

    A Syrian youth stands next to a rebel waving a pre-Baath Syrian flag currently used by the opposition during an anti-regime protest in the northern city of Aleppo on March 22, 2013. The UN lamented the escalating violence in Syria and extended a probe into widespread human rights violations in the war-torn country. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC        (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

    Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty

    The U.S. and its allies in the Middle East—including Turkey—have been secretly sending arms to the Syrian rebels with the help of the CIA, according to a report in Monday’s New York Times. Meanwhile, the opposition forces closed in on the capital, Damascus, shelling less than a mile from Bashar al-Assad’s presidential palace. The rebels’ National Coalition rejected the resignation of their leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, who has stepped down out of frustration as the bloody civil war has continued. The report comes as U.S. officials have approached the Syrian situation with increased trepidation, especially as the evidence mounts that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in an attack last week.

    Read it at The New York Times