Inside Syria, it's a little hard to keep track of the chaos as government forces battle rebels in Aleppo, but one way to gauge the significance of what's happening is to keep tabs on who in the government resigns over it. The latest high level defector, according to The Associated Press, is Charge d'Affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi. He's President Bashar al-Assad's top diplomat in London, and he just defected to British Foreign Office, which put out a statement calling the move "another blow to the Assad Regime," per USA Today's Douglas Stanglin. The British office writes that "Ayoubi has told us that he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people, and is therefore unable to continue in his position."
Al-Ayoubi follows married Syrian diplomats Abdelatif al-Dabbagh and Lamia al-Hariri, ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus, respectively, who both defected to Qatar last week, becoming the second and third diplomats to defect since the uprising started 16 months ago, Reuters reported. For the past week, the fighting has been concentrated around the city of Aleppo, which government forces have pounded with artillery and helicopter gunships, sending more than 200,000 residents out of the city in search of safety, the Los Angeles Times reports. CNN reported Monday that rebels had captured a government military base, but state television claims that Syrian troops had overrun the rebels in the city, according to Bloomberg's Donna Abu-Nasr. What does all that mean? Well, among other things, it means that Syria's diplomatic corps is gradually deciding it can't support the military.