Summary of the latest developments
• The UN refugee agency says the number of Syrian refugees seeking its help now tops a quarter of a million – 85,197 in Jordan, 78,431 in Turkey, 66,915 in Lebanon and 22,563 in Iraq.
• Al-Hajar Alaswad district of Damascus has come under heavy shelling by warplanes, mortars and tanks for the second day, a resident told the Guardian – adding that the last remaining hospital in the area had been hit.
• Syrian defector Gen Manaf Tlas has said that French secret agents helped him flee Syria in early July, the BBC reports. Tlas also suggested the Damascus regime might resort to “limited” use of chemical weapons if subjected to more pressure but said he was “against foreign intervention of any shape or form in Syria”.
• The Lebanese army has freed four Syrians kidnapped by the Meqdad clan, during a raid on Beirut’s southern suburbs.
• Actress Angelina Jolie has been visiting the Zaatari camp in Jordan, which hosts about 27,000 Syrians displaced by the conflict. Jolie, a UN “goodwill ambassador”, met Syrian refugee women separately and toured the sprawling tent city, AP reports.
• President Bashar al-Assad has told Russia he would be ready to step aside if Syrians choose another leader in an election, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in remarks published by the French newspaper Le Figaro.
• Nearly 300 Filipino workers have returned home from Syria in the biggest single repatriation negotiated between the two governments.
• WikiLeaks has released a batch of more than 32,000 emails relating to the Syrian foreign ministry.