The U.S. Department of State called on both sides of the Syrian conflict to “stop unlawful attacks on civilians and comply with international law.” The call came after reports that a number of civilians had been killed or wounded in the Yarmouk district of Damascus, as a result of air raids and fighting between the government and the opposition.

MESOP 24.12.2012 – Hundreds of Palestinians fled Yarmouk refugee camp, while Syrian Alawites were forced out of Idlib by members of Jabhat al-Nusra. The European Union put “all options on the table to support the Syrian opposition,” including the possibility of supplying non-lethal military equipment or arms.

 German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron were not in agreement as to whether or not a standing arms embargo should be lifted to allow for such action.

Thomas Donnelly wrote an op-ed highlighting the Obama Administration’s dilemma in addressing Syria’s chemical weapons. Syria’s vice president Farouk al-Sharaa publicly announced that the Syrian Army cannot defeat the armed rebels and the regime now seeks a negotiated settlement. The chief of the Syrian intelligence public relations division, Alaaddin al-Sabbagh, declared that he had defected from “the Assad criminal regime” and urged others to do the same.