Groups in Syria opposed to the regime say more than 40,000 people have died since the uprising began almost two years ago.
Now fears are being expressed that the forces of President Bashar al-Assad might turn to chemical weapons to defend the regime.
Syrian writer Rime Allaf said: "I think the Obama administration is speaking for the rest of the world when it shows its reluctance to get involved, but I think that slowly they are coming to the conclusion that something's going to happen and they're going to have to move - because Damascus seems to be getting ready for the biggest battle that the Syrian revolution has seen.
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