President Bashar al-Assad is willing to use chemical weapons in the fight against the rebels opposed to his government. In an interview with the BBC, a defected senior Syrian politician said Assad is 'stockpiling' and he 'won't hesitate to use them if he's cornered'. Nawaf Fares, is the ex-ambassador to Iraq and the most senior man to defect from the President's regime. Fares also went on to say there are unconfirmed reports that chemical weapons may have already been used.

And that fighting continues relentless as this amateur video apparently Damascus shows. The footage which is unverified – but that was uploaded at the weekend - appears to show rebel fighters behind a sandbagged position in an alleyway, in the middle of a fierce gun battle with Syria government forces, the rebels using rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.

Meanwhile International Peace Envoy Kofi Annan's meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, had a frosty conclusion last night. They're both seen here leaving the ministry. Lavrov said Russia would block any UN Security Council moves to extend the Syrian monitoring mission, particularly if Western powers didn't stop resorting to blackmail by threatening sanctions against the capital. Annan's due to meet the President, Vladmir Putin later today.