Experts say Bashar al Assad held an election to force Syrians into submission and give his few international supporters a reason to keep backing him. Can he succeed, though?
Syrian chemical attack victims and Syrian rights groups have filed a criminal complaint in France, where courts have a mandate to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity even if committed by foreign nationals on foreign territory.
Cities and towns along the critical highway linking Damascus with Aleppo have become sites of brutal destruction at the hands of the Syrian regime.
Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded in a report released that a toxic chemical containing chlorine was used in last year's attack in Douma.
The team established by the global chemical weapons watchdog will investigate nine alleged attacks during the country's civil war.
Initial findings by the OPCW into a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma indicate that chlorine may have been used but that there were no indications that a nerve agent was used in the April 7 attack.
Al Bab has seen plenty of fighting during the war in Syria. Now that the northern city is peaceful, it is welcoming people fleeing conflict in other parts of the country.
The Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Saturday the mission visited "one of the sites" in Douma, where at least 40 killed in a suspected gas attack on April 7, and would draft a report based on the findings.
The United States, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria's Douma, blamed by the US and its allies on Bashar al Assad's regime in Syria.
UN Department of Safety and Security says it is discussing security with the regime and Russia after an advance team came under fire. The team was in Douma, site of a suspected gas attack that triggered US-led strikes, ahead of an OPCW visit.
Syrian regime media first reported that missiles were fired at the Shayrat air base near Homs and an air base in the capital Damascus. However state TV later said a false alarm had triggered air defence systems, and there was no attack.
The comments came at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons meeting held at the Hague as the watchdog has started its investigation on the site of the attack in Syria's Douma.
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