The town of Douma is now reportedly under full control of the Syrian government. The last bastion of rebel resistance, it was also the site of a reported poison gas attack by Syrian forces.
A new framework to allow sanctions over chemical weapon use could see restrictions placed on Russia over the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal. Potential sanctions could involve travel bans and asset freezes.
Visitors to the antiquities museum will be the first in seven years to view classical and Islamic treasures. The building was closed and the artefacts removed when Syria's civil war came close to the capital.
The Kremlin has claimed that rebels are planning a chemical weapons attack with the intent of blaming it on Syria. Russia also says a British contractor is helping the militants.
An anticipated Syrian government offensive against the jihadi hotbed of Idlib province threatens to draw in multiple foreign powers and unleash massive suffering. Hundreds of thousands of civilians could be displaced.
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