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.
A war monitor said Russian warplanes hit a school basement in eastern Ghouta, killing at least 15 children. In New York, the UN human rights chief was blocked from addressing the Security Council on the carnage in Syria.
Government forces have launched a brutal offensive to consolidate territory on the outskirts of Damascus. Warplanes have struck rebel-held areas, killing at least 30 civilians attempting to flee, according to a monitor.