The Arab League hit Syria with sanctions Sunday. The new sanctions include a travel ban on Syrian officials and a freeze on Syria government assets.
The Arab League's Saturday night deadline to end the violence in Syria was bookended by government crackdowns and an attack on the Baath party headquarters Sunday.
The killing of Mashaal Tammo, a Kurdish member of the new Syrian National Council who called for unity across ethnic and religious groups, may help galvanize Syrian activists seeking to topple President Assad.
Damascus faces a double threat: growing international support for the Syrian National Council and the prospect that Syria's Kurd population could join the opposition's ranks.
Syrian government loyalists stormed the US embassy after the ambassador visited Hama, a city that has become a focal point of the protest movement.
Syria protests continued for a third day in Deraa with security forces reportedly using tear gas and firing live ammunition to disperse demonstrators. Eyes are now turning to the restive Kurdish population.
Israel's Navy seized a ship off the coast of Cyprus with 500 tons of weapons that it alleges were sent by Iran to Syria, and ultimately destined for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
The disputed territory is key to the broader US goal of Arab-Israeli peace. On Monday, Washington hosted the first high-ranking Syrian official in five years.
US envoy Mitchell was in Egypt Thursday, and arrives in Damascus Friday. Syrians hope for a new rapprochement under an Obama administration.