While politicians try to reinstate the Syrian ceasefire, violence and fighting in Aleppo is worse than ever. The city in northern Syria is the most embattled place in the country's civil war.
A new safe zone would be a fourth of its kind, which Russian, Iranian and Turkish officials claim led to a decline in violence in Syria. But any comprehensive and long-lasting peace will require the weight of the UN.
Syria began its descent into civil war in early 2011, when government security forces shot and killed protesters. But if President Bashar al-Assad thought a show of force would end the protests, he was wrong.
US and Russian officials have addressed the rising tensions in Syria, as the war enters a critical new phase. Washington and Moscow-backed military groups are both set on securing the oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour.
Asma al-Assad grew up in London, went to elite schools and had a promising career. Then, as wife of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, she became a beacon of hope for Syria.
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