Such high-level defections have been rare so far. But if they become more frequent, they could cause Assad's regime to crumble from within.
It's evidence of how tense the situation has grown along the Turkish border of war ravaged Syria. But early indications are a major escalation won't result.
According to The New York Times, the CIA is helping to vet Syrian rebel groups for arms shipments paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
Russia plans to dispatch two ships carrying marines to its naval base in Tartous, reportedly to protect Russian citizens and evacuate them if needed.
Citing the safety of unarmed observers, the UN has suspended its Syria monitoring effort. It's the first step toward crafting a new international approach.
When Columbia University admitted Sheherazad Jaafari, a former aide to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, many students objected. But she's not the first controversial student at a US-based university.
Pundits from John Bolton to Nick Kristof are issuing calls to arms. But there's little regard for national interest, or the law of unintended consequences, in the urgings to act now.
At a State Department briefing yesterday, a reporter asked why the US would not intervene if it knew massacres were likely to occur. The response: 'Do you have a specific proposal in mind?'
The election of Abdelbaset Sieda to the presidency of the Syrian National Council is being held up as a sign that a post-Assad Syria would be a safe place for all minorities.
Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria has been deemed a failure by most. Today he will announce a proposal to revive it that includes bringing Iran into the diplomatic process.
Syria is at the nexus of some of the Middle East's most central problems, meaning that fallout from its uprising is likely to ripple, in unpredictable ways, through the region. Here's a brief guide to the actors in the conflict.
A generally accepted definition of civil war is a fight for control of a nation, involving the state, one or more non-state actors, and at least 1,000 battlefield casualties. Sounds like Syria.
The summit is intended to allow EU leaders to reacquaint themselves with President Vladimir Putin, but they are expected to lean on him to take a stronger stand on Syria.
Syria's war is as violent today as at any point of the over year-long conflict, and a UN peace plan spearheaded by Kofi Annan is in tatters. But that doesn't spell military intervention.
If the Free Syrian Army abandons the peace plan, which they warned yesterday they might do, any vestiges of restraint – on either side – could vanish.
Syria's civil war is horrific, with most of the crimes committed by the Assad regime and its supporters. This may lead to moral clarity, but not necessarily to international military action.
Longtime fighter Mustapha explains to the first Western reporter to visit his Bekaa Valley orchard camp how he is preparing eager Lebanese to take up arms against the Assad regime.
Russia's support for a UN Security Council condemnation of this weekend's Syria massacre had raised hopes that Moscow would support stronger action against its ally Assad.