Fighting between rebels and government forces raged near the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday, forcing an inbound Egyptian commercial jet to turn back.
Lebanese security officials said Jihad Makdissi, a polished Foreign Ministry spokesman known for defending the regime of President Bashar Assad in fluent English, flew from Beirut to London. But it was not immediately clear whether he had defected.
The U.N.’s regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria said the U.N. was withdrawing most of its international staff from Syria due to security issues.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is accusing the Syrian government of serious violations of the 1974 agreement that separated Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights and is calling on both countries to halt firing across the cease-fire line.