The US and Russia are hoping to accomplish a change in Syria's regime by the end of February, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper report.
The daily Al-Rai newspaper quoted diplomatic sources this week as saying the two world superpowers were hoping to formulate a plan for a transition of power in Damascus within the next 10 weeks.
The plan will include an agreement for the United Nations Security Council to sponsor a Syrian transitional government as part of the effort to stop the savagery that has so far led to nearly 50,000 deaths in less than two years.
Despite assurances that its regime would never turn its chemical weaponry on its own people, it has become clear that Syrian Army troops have indeed done the unthinkable.
The London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat Arabic language newspaper on Wednesday quoted a Syrian defector who said that chemical weapons were used by Syrian troops who bombed civilians and rebels in the Homs province.
Abd al-Salam Abd al-Razaq, who had once served as a staff member in the Syrian Army chemical warfare division, said the bombing used sarin-type nerve gas. He added that he believed it was ordered by President Bashar al-Assad as a means of measuring the reactions of the international community.
"Using the gas in Homs was Assad's way of feeling the international community's pulse on the matter,” Razaq explained.
Assad has been warned repeatedly by the United States, the European Union, NATO and the United Nations that any use of his chemical weapons arsenal would be considered a crossing of “the red line.”