Syria has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011, when violence broke out in the wake of uprisings against the government and pro-Assad forces.
Since March 2011 Syria has been torn by violence. In a wave of protests extending the mass revolutions of the Arab Spring in North Africa, Syrians took to the streets to demand more freedoms and constitutional protections from the government of Bashar al-Assad. The protests were violently suppressed and the country divided along religious and political lines. An exodus of refugees has flooded neighboring countries while the international community deliberates peace initiatives.
The Goethe-Institut had to close its Damascus office in 2012 - due to the ongoing civil war. Germany's cultural organization has now opened "Damascus in Exile" - a meeting place for Syrian artists in Berlin.
With international condemnation for Russia's bombing campaign in Syria and alleged human rights violations in Crimea, Conflict Zone talked to Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, who rejected the criticism.
Kabul claims that suspected "Islamic State" militants have killed over 30 civilians in the western Ghor province. Experts say the setbacks in Iraq and Syria could be a reason behind the group's focus on Afghanistan.
A suspected Syrian army helicopter has dropped barrel bombs on northern rebels, the Turkish military has said. Syrian government troops have also warned Turkey that advances towards Aleppo would be met "with force."
Refugee children in Germany told author Thomas Mac Pfeifer their favorite bedtime stories. He then compiled a new multi-lingual book that brings together folklore from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other war zones.