The Russian Federation’s permanent representative to the United Nations told reporters last week that Russia possesses evidence which shows that the nerve agent sarin had been used by Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The ranks of rebel fighters are now even more strained however, following the assassination of a top Free Syrian Army commander by their sometime allies in Al-Qaeda, a move described as a declaration of war by the FSA. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Taliban have announced that they are dispatching hundreds of their own fighters to Syria to assist in the war against the Assad regime, a strategy which is meant to cement their ties with Al-Qaeda’s central leadership. (July 9, 2013 BBC News; July 13, 2013 The Daily Star; July 14, 2013 Reuters)