BEIRUT Western efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad shifted dramatically Wednesday, with Britain announcing it will deal directly with rebel military leaders.
A Turkish official also said his nation has held discussions with NATO allies, including the United States, on using Patriot missiles to protect a safe zone inside Syria.
The developments came within hours of President Barack Obama’s re-election. U.S. allies anticipate a new, bolder approach from the American leader to end the deadlocked civil war that has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising against Assad began in March 2011.
Earlier Wednesday, a car bomb killed a judge in Damascus on Wednesday, the second assassination in the capital in two days targeting high-ranking Assad supporters.
The state-run SANA news agency said a “terrorist group” planted explosives under the car of Judge Abad Nadhwah when it was parked in front of his house. The bomb was detonated remotely, killing the judge instantly. Assad’s government often refers to the opposition fighters as “terrorists.”
The regime stronghold of Damascus has seen an upswing in violence this week with some of the fiercest clashes in months.