Syrian rebels try to flush out snipers in Selehattin, near Aleppo, on July 23, 2012. Syrian rebels 'liberated' several districts of the northern city of Aleppo yesterday, according to a Free Syrian Army spokesman (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Syria's statement yesterday that it has stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons but will only use them in the face of “external aggression” was almost surely a response to the sudden surge in rebel attacks that appear to be loosening President Bashar al-Assad's hold on power. The announcement startled the international community, which can be expected to reconsider its approach to the crisis in Syria given the possibility that Assad could use these weapons on his own people if sufficiently threatened.
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