Syria's uprising began with peaceful protests but with attacks by army defectors on government troops increasing, it is fast turning into a civil war.
Dozens of soldiers loyal to the regime of President Bashar al Assad were reported killed in the latest clashes in the province of Deraa.
Every week new videos emerge on social networking websites showing men in Syrian army uniforms apparently declaring their allegiance to the opposition.
These defectors are part of a growing force calling itself the Free Syrian Army.
Commanded from Turkey, it claims to have recruited 10,000 men.
An armed rebellion was perhaps inevitable in the face of the regime's ongoing crackdown against civilians, but it may also make the Syrian crisis even bloodier and harder to resolve.
Unlike Libya, where the armed uprising had the support of a united opposition in the form of the National Transitional Council, in Syria it is not clear who the Syrian Free Army represents.
The force's stated aim is to protect the Syrian people.
Presumably that includes ousting Mr Assad.
But the question remains, what then?
The opposition to the regime is fragmented in terms of ideology and tactics.
Some protesters have called for international military intervention while others believe it is matter for the Syrian people to resolve.
The splits were starkly illustrated when the Arab League invited some members of the opposition for talks, only for the delegates to be pelted with eggs by protesters who claimed they were "collaborators" sent by Mr Assad's regime.
The international community, including the Arab world, now wants to start planning a future without Bashar al Assad by reaching out to the opposition.
But the regime's opponents have as yet failed to unite behind a clear strategy for bringing an end to the Assad dynasty after 40 years.
Even the president's enemies fear a power vacuum in Syria might be more dangerous that the ongoing repression of the regime.
A full-scale civil war might produce that vacuum. It seems certain to increase the bloodshed.
US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has spoken publicly about her recovery for the first time since she was shot in the head 10 months ago.
The politician struggled to form her sentences as she told Diane Sawyer for ABC's 20/20 programme she was feeling "pretty good" but that her battle for health was "difficult".
Mrs Giffords, who was shot during a rampage in Tucson last January in which six people were killed and 13 wounded, said she will not return to Congress until she is "better".
She spoke out as she and her astronaut husband Mark Kelly published their memoirs - Gabby: A Story Of Courage And Hope - charting their ordeal since the shooting.
Asked if she wanted to return to Congress, Mrs Giffords said: "No. Better." As she gestured as if requiring help to form the words, her husband said: "She wants to get better."
Pushed on whether she was thinking of returning to her previous job if she does recover enough, she added: "Yes, yes, yes."
There has been speculation about Mrs Giffords' career plans since the Arizona Democrat appeared in the House this summer to cast a vote on the debt ceiling increase.
But although the interview showed her confidence and determination, she also appeared far from able to carry on a detailed conversation.
She spoke in a clear voice but in halting phrases, replying to questions about how she was feeling and how she had fared since the shooting by saying: "Pretty good ... Difficult ... Strong, strong, strong."
The interview was accompanied by a video Mrs Giffords' husband shot documenting her recovery.
The initial days and weeks showed her struggling to understand what had happened and to communicate in the most basic forms, before she is seen slowly learning to speak and smile again.
More than 80 Conservatives are expected to back calls for the Government to take action on soaring petrol prices as Downing Street agrees not to instruct its MPs how to vote.
The petrol debate has been triggered by a high-profile campaign against next year's 3p increase in duty led by Conservative MP Robert Halfon.
It is the second time in less than a month that Prime Minister David Cameron has faced a disagreement with a large number of his backbenchers.
MPs will vote on a motion calling on ministers to consider a "price stabilisation mechanism" to operate alongside Chancellor George Osborne's fair fuel stabiliser introduced in the Budget.
More than 100 MPs from all parties - including 83 Conservatives and five Liberal Democrats - have so far signed the motion, which does not represent Government policy.
Mr Halfon, a Tory backbencher who secured the debate after a No. 10 e-petition attracted more than 100,000 signatures, initially feared there would be a three-line whip from the Government - the strongest disciplinary sanction.
But Downing Street sources confirm the vote will not be "whipped", allowing MPs to choose which side to support. The Government will abstain, the source added.
If Conservative whips had not relented, it would have set Mr Cameron on another collision course with his own MPs after last month's rebellion over an EU referendum.
Supporters of the motion include such prominent Tories as David Davis and Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, as well as a large number of MPs elected for the first time last year.
The motion set to be debated is more moderate than the petition that triggered it.
While the online petition called for specific policy changes, the MP's motion asks the Government to "consider the feasibility" of price stabilisation.
Brian Mooney, from the Association of British Drivers, told: "We are totally on the side of the MPs who are calling for a bit of realism.
"Drivers are a cash cow, we pay about £50bn a year in taxes and get about £8bn back. There has got to be some restraint on abolishing future planned fuel duty rises."
According to the AA, the price of one litre of unleaded fell by 1.1p in October from the previous month to 134.5p. Diesel prices remained unchanged at 139.6p a litre.
There have been some reports that Downing Street is considering scrapping the planned increase, which is due to take effect in January, but the Prime Minister's official spokesman has refused to confirm this.
"We recognise as a Government that motoring is an essential part of everyday life for many families and fuel is a significant cost for those families," the spokesman said.
"When it comes to future policy on fuel duty, that is a matter for the Chancellor. We don't set out tax policy ahead of budgets. We set it out in budgets."
Mr Halfon warned that feelings on the issue were running high both in Parliament and the country at large.
"I have been astonished by the level of support (for the motion)," he said. "It is crucifying people across the country."
Mr Halfron said he is particularly concerned about the impact the rising prices were having on small and medium-sized businesses "vital to the economic recovery".
Motoring journalist Quentin Willson, who speaks for FairFuelUK, said: "Advanced economies do not tax people to restrict their mobility.
"It's a Trojan horse fuel duty, it's corroding the economy from within. Money is being lost through people not driving, not going to work, not getting jobs, not paying VAT."
"We bought 1.75bn fewer litres of fuel this year, so they are losing that revenue anyway. Then there is all the national insurance, the VAT, the corporation tax, the personal tax that is not being generated because people aren't shopping."
Labour said its MPs would be supporting an amendment tabled by backbencher Dave Watts to cut the cost of fuel by, for instance, reversing January's VAT rise.
Shadow treasury minister Owen Smith said: "With our economic recovery choked off well before the recent eurozone crisis we need action and not just warm words".