Most observers consider Assad's continued presidency as untenable at this point, with Russia's envoy to France claiming that President Bashar al-Assad is ready to leave power "in a civilized manner".
Syrian state TV have denied these claims but the military are on full alert following the rumours
— Dan Williams(@DanWilliams) July 20, 2012
The conflict in Syria continues to escalate as the death toll rises, with 217 deaths yesterday according to the LCC and times become increasingly desperate for the Assad regime.
— (@HamaEcho) July 19, 2012
The continued shelling of civilian areas by the military is causing many otherwise unaffiliated Syrians to start to turn against the Assad regime, with the first step of breaking down the "cult of personality" that has surrounded Assad with people removing his portrait from their walls
— NMSyria (@NMSyria) July 20, 2012
There are large-scale protests across Syria against the Assad regime as the month of Ramadan begins for the country's Muslim population. One particularly large protest is taking place in the centre of Aleppo in what is being referred to as "Freedom Square"
There's also mass protests in Damascus such as at this funeral in Qabr Akteh in the heart of the city
As the situation deteriorates, more Syrians are fleeing the conflict zones with the UNHCR stating that up to 30,000 Syrians have fled into Lebanon over the past 48 hours, with thousands more crossing into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said that Israel will block any influx of Syrian refugees into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights - an area from which Assad has brought forces in an attempt to quell the uprising.
The continued disruption to business and the flood of people fleeing the country has meant that banks are running out of money in the country with The Guardian reporting on a statement from UNHCR's chief spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, who said
We've heard reports that many of the banks have just run out of money.
I just have a report from our staff that says state and private banks are reported to be out of funds. Whether this is all banks, I don't know.
This is specifically relevant to the refugee population as reported but it's probably also affecting the Syrian population.
The rebels reportedly have control of the Bab al-Hawa and Jarablus border crossings with Turkey and the Abu Kamal crossing with Iraq.
"there's no Syrian border now"Syrian man tells CNN after driving thru rebel-controlled Bab elHawa border gate w/out getting passport stamped
— Ivan Watson (@IvanCNN) July 20, 2012
Within Damascus, government forces have retaken some areas of the city such as Midan, with rebels calling the withdrawal from the area a "tactical retreat" to avoid further civilian casualties from the shelling. The result is a Damascus that is eerily quiet with large numbers of military personnel on the ground
— Sander van Hoorn (@svhoorn) July 20, 2012
The Syrian National Security Chief, Hisham Ikhtiar, has reportedly died as a result of the injuries he sustained from the bomb blast at the National Security Building in Damascus on Wednesday. There was still significant turnout for his funeral showing Syria remains a divided country between those that support the Assad regime and those that suppirt the rebels
— BintAlRifai (@BintAlRifai) July 20, 2012
Whilst further UN sanctions may be off the table following yesterday's vetoes by Russia and China, the international community may still attempt to intervene further in the conflict outside of a UN mandate, with British Foreign Secretary William Hague noting in an interview with the BBC
We will all be doing more outside the Security Council and intensify our work to support the Syrian opposition, to give humanitarian aid outside the work of the Security Council... There are several things we can do: first of all to give more practical support to the Syrian opposition. We do not give lethal support... We've already doubled the humanitarian aid.... The flow of refugees is rising, so we'll do our utmost to help those people
He also stated that whilst the British are not currently sending arms at to the Syrian rebels:
It is happening... [and] I don't rule out any option for the future because we can't foresee how it will develop. But it has never been our policy in any of the conflicts in the Middle East to send lethal assistance to any of the parties involved