The President and State Department gave updates on the war in Syria. The U.S. gave limited support to a new group representing the rebels and announced more humanitarian aid as millions of Syrians have been displaced by the war.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta stated that Iran is increasing its presence in Syria in an apparent effort to bolster the Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime. He also said that a no-fly zone is “not on the front-burner.”
The State Department said the U.S. designated terrorist group Hezbollah is providing support to the Government of Syria. The department also imposed new sanctions on the Syrian state-run oil company Sytrol.
Opposition fighters battled Syrian government forces in what residents described as the fiercest fighting yet inside the capital. On Monday the fighting had spread to several neighbourhoods and in the center of the city and black smoke drifted over the city skyline while gunfire could be heard throughout the capital.
WikiLeaks began releasing 2,434,899 million e-mails sent by Syrian officials that include records of financial transfers sent from the government to other non-Syrian companies that date from 2006 to March. Wikileaks claims the emails will embarrass President Bashar al-Assad and his Baath party as well as their opponents.
The United Nations has agreed to a plan for a transitional government for Syrian. Syrian opposition groups immediately rejected the plan because they claimed it was too “ambiguous” or “a farce” and reject the idea of sharing power with President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition also requested direct UN intervention with a reconstruction plan and declared a three-day national period of mourning. UN members asserted that this is a step forward in the process.