Bashar Assad(AFP)

• U.S. officials told NBC News that Syrian forces have loaded chemical weapons and are awaiting orders from Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to use them against rebel forces. The weapons are said to include sarin gas. [NBC]

• In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, among Israel’s most vocal supporters, made his opposition to a plan to build settlements between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known. [Globe and Mail]

• As the post-election shuffles continues, four Jewish Democrats have been placed in top committee slots in the House of Representatives. [JTA]

• Despite its notorious past, Ford Motor Company has appointed a Jewish chief operating officer named Mark Fields, who is now in the driver’s seat for the company’s CEO slot. [JTA]