In what has been one of the hottest summers many Syrians can remember, the classrooms of an elementary school in the north of the country are packed full -- not with schoolchildren, but with pro-government prisoners captured by rebels.
Recent events have left Syria watchers near breathless: government loss of control of border crossings into Iraq and Turkey, rebels temporarily holding portions of Damascus, the unexplained movement of some of Syria's extensive arsenal of chemical weapons, and fighting spreading to the streets of the traditional Alawite stronghold of Aleppo.
The Russian government shares many of the U.S. concerns about the continuing violence in Syria, but Moscow is reluctant to embrace Washington's proposals to solve them because it is wary of its motives, experts say.
When a slow-motion massacre has unfolded over the course of 15 months, it's easy to lose the world's attention. But even the most jaded gasped in horror as news emerged of the latest carnage inflicted on the Syrian people. The images from the town of Houla defied belief.
Once again, Syria is at a crossroads. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan deserves applause for brokering a ceasefire in a conflict where others have failed, and where some have been only too ready to press military buttons. Despite the seeming success of diplomacy, the conflict in Syria is far from over. This is only a new beginning.
A Syrian general was gunned down in the heart of the capital on Saturday, according to state media, as fresh violence flared in several cities and world powers mulled a way to halt the government's bloody offensive against civilians.
A Red Crescent official and a priest were among the two dozen reported killed Wednesday in Syria, where a pro-government militia stormed neighborhoods in a city already notorious for an earlier revolt.
Scores of people died Thursday in and around the restive Syrian city of Hama, activists said, corroborating reports of widespread casualties a day after the start of a new military clampdown targeting protesters.
The Syrian city of Hama has an ancient past as part of the Roman, Greek and Byzantine empires, but recent deadly violence has revived memories of its more recent history as a hotbed of unrest and brutal government crackdown.
A top adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defended the regime's actions Tuesday, arguing that the government is not attacking peaceful protesters, despite widespread witness reports of a fierce crackdown against displays of dissent.
The number of people killed by indiscriminate gunfire from government forces in the western Syrian city of Hama on Friday may exceed 80, said the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing reliable medical sources.
With reports emerging that at least one high-ranking Syrian military commander refused to participate in a bloody, predawn raid that left dozens dead in the southern border city of Daraa -- the heart of Syria's weekslong civil unrest, questions are being raised about possible cracks in President Bashar al-Assad's hold over the military.
Henry Kissinger once said: "The Arabs can't make war without Egypt; and they can't make peace without Syria." It was a back-handed tribute to Syria's consistently hard line against Israel and its critical geographical position in what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls "a rough neighborhood."
In January, Bashar al-Assad sat down for a long interview with the Wall Street Journal. That was noteworthy in itself; the Syrian leader doesn't spend much time with the Western media. He was in confident mood -- saying that Syria would not succumb to the unrest then spreading in Tunisia and Egypt.
A day after Syria's former vice president made a series of damning remarks about President Bashar al-Assad, the country's lawmakers stood behind their leader and said that Abdul Halim Khaddam should be tried for treason for his comments.