Syria: Troops and rebels reinforce for big Aleppo battle: Syrian rebels have stepped up their stockpiling of ammunition and medical supplies in preparation for a major battle in Aleppo, a BBC reporter says. The rebels, who are in control large parts of Syria's second city, have set up checkpoints and sniper positions. Activists say columns of government troops and tanks are heading towards the city from other areas. Aleppo is the country's commercial capital, and is key to the battle to control the north of the country. Street battles have been reported throughout Aleppo for almost a week, as rebels try to hold on to seized neighborhoods.
• UN blogger Nabil Abi Saab, claims the Arab League's decision to change Kofi Annan's mission in Syria (see 9.10am) represents the end of the joint envoy's mission. Rebel troops have been filmed capturing a government tank in the Shakour district of Aleppo.
The climax is building but I like much of the world am long convinced that Assad is a mad man. If he is still alive he is getting beyond increasingly desperate. At the very least he will use chemical weapons on his own people that he calls foreigners and terrorists and in the process sacrifice many of his own supporters.
Syria is largely thought to have the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world and the most extensive and deadliest. Yes they are moving them around supposedly to protect them but I would not count on that. One of the General's now in the opposition is making a plan to secure them. Under Assad he was in control of them so he knows where they all are.
Not just that but you know Israel is monitoring their movement and knows where they are. They will do anything to keep them out of the hands of Hezbollah who absolutely would use them on Israel.
Lastly do not discount Iran's ability to get her hands on them "clandestinely of course" and get them into the hands of anyone eager to use them on Israel. This is not a good situation in an already volatile predicament. Not with everyone involved there eager to gain the upper hand in influencing which way the new middle east order goes.