Nearly a year and a half after Syria's uprising began back in the Arab Spring, it has devolved into a violent civil war with fractious rebel forces continuing their efforts to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power. Earlier today, Riad Hijab, Syria's Prime Minister who defected to the opposition last week, held a press conference, saying "the regime is on the verge of collapse morally and economically." Activists now claim more than 20,000 have been killed in the conflict since early 2011, and the violence continues to spread to the cities of Damascus and Aleppo.
A Free Syrian Army fighter carries an RPG launcher during clashes with Syrian troops near Idlib, Syria, on June 15, 2012.
(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A man looks at destroyed building from Syrian forces shelling in Khaldiyeh, Homs, Syria, on August 11, 2012.
(AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)
A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires a rocket during an air strike on the village of Tel Rafat, north of Aleppo, on August 9, 2012. Syrian troops and rebels fought over the country's biggest city Aleppo as President Bashar al-Assad's key foreign backer Iran gathered ministers from like-minded states for talks about how to end the conflict.
Syrians watch TV in an underground shelter in Al-Bueda, 12 kms from the flashpoint city of Homs, on July 24, 2012. Residents have built their own shelters underneath their houses and supplied them with electricity to take cover from the daily violence as fighting intensifies between government forces and rebels.
(Antonio Pampliega/AFP/Getty Images)
Opposition fighters prepare home-made firebombs in the northern Syrian city of of Aleppo where rebel forces overran the Shaar district police station, on July 25, 2012. Battles raged through the night in several districts of Syria's second largest city to which the regime had rushed reinforcement, after rebels launched an all-out assault for control of the country's commercial hub on July 20.
(Pierre Torres/AFP/Getty Images)
British student Mohammad Qadi Riha, after an interview with Reuters on a main street in Hatay, on July 6, 2012. Motivated by his mother's tales of atrocities in her homeland three decades ago, 22-year old Qadi Riha said he set off from London to Syria to join the armed resistance against President Bashar al-Assad.
This image made from amateur video released by R.Y.E. Syria and accessed Monday August 13, 2012, purports to show a Syrian plane downed over the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, Syria, on August 13, 2012. Activists released the video which they claim shows a government Soviet-made MiG warplane catching fire apparently after it was hit by ground fire while Syrian state-run media said Monday a pilot ejected from a warplane on a training mission after technical failure.
(AP Photo/R.Y.E. Syria)
This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network purports to show Syrian Pilot Colonel Rafik Mohammed Suleiman being interrogated by a rebel officer after his Soviet-made MiG warplane was apparently hit by ground fire over Deir el-Zour province, on August 13, 2012. If the rebel claim of the downing proves true, it could mark a significant jump in their ability to combat widening air attacks from President Bashar Assad's forces.
(AP Photo/Shaam News Network)
A Syrian man burns the remains of his damaged belongings in the town of Atareb in northern Aleppo province, on July 2, 2012. The majority of residents in Atareb have fled the town due to heavy fighting between Syrian forces and rebels for the past few months. The last convoy of Syrian army has reportedly left the town few days ago and residents are slowly returning to claim their possessions and check their homes.
Rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters capture two policemen who the FSA allege are "Shabiha" or pro-regime militiamen, on July 31, 2012, as the rebels overran a police station in Aleppo. A watchdog said that rebels killed 40 officers and seized three police stations during the pivotal battle for the commercial capital.
(Emin Ozmen/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke billows over Damascus, Syria, on July 18, 2012. A bomb ripped through a high-level security meeting in Damascus, killing three top regime officials -- including President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law -- in the harshest blow to Syria's ruling family dynasty and the rebels' boldest attack in the country's civil war. Syrian state-run TV said the blast came during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials in Damascus, which has seen four straight days of clashes between rebels and government troops.
Suleiman El Leban, 21, an injured Syrian refugee, rests on his bed as he undergoes rehabilitation at a post-traumatic care center in Hatay province, on August 13, 2012. According to El Leban's account, he was injured during a Syrian Army helicopter attack on his convoy near Hama as they were on their way to flee to Turkey, officials said.
Mahmoud, a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of Syria, rests in a field hospital after he was found with three gunshot wounds on August 6, 2012, in the town of Anadan on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. Mahmoud, who would give only one name, described being the only survivor of a massacre in which he and 10 other men were blindfolded, beaten and sprayed with bullets.
(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)