Syria's civilian death toll is now estimated at 6000 people, as tanks and machine guns continue to bombard residential neighborhoods the Assad government calls "havens for terrorists" inspired by foreign enemies. Army defectors and others are fighting back as best they can. Some 25,000 civilians have managed to flee to destinations including Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Refugees say they're bribing soldiers to help them get out of cities where food, water and medical care are in short supply. Meantime, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has announced a referendum in ten days to amend the constitution, limit his term in office and set up elections. France wants the UN to protect "corridors" for humanitarian relief, but Russia says that might "legitimize regime change."
Syria's Civil War
Erika Solomon - Financial Times - @ErikaSolomon, Rania Abouzeid - freelance journalist - @RaniaAb, Robert Danin - Council on Foreign Relations - @robertdanin, Shadi Hamid - Brookings Institution; The Atlantic - @shadihamid, Bassam Haddad - George Mason University - @4Bassam